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The Church College of 



Joseph Borgquist Musser 

«*.'',' ' * i '«* * »l^-l«tA *,!*•* »*f*"M- 






Nondum inexpiatis uncta cruoribus t 
Periculosee plenum opus alea, 

Tractas et incedis per ignes 

Suppositos cineri doloso 

The Chu. ft ot 







An affair, which might be deemed worthy 
of a note of a few lines in any general history, 
has been here expanded to the size of a volume 
or large pamphlet. The smallness of the scale 
and the singularity of the manners and events 
and many of the characters, considered, it is 
hoped that, in spite of its outlandish subject, 
the sketch may find readers. It has been a 
task of difficulty. Speed was essential, or it 
might come too late to be of any service to a 
distracted country. Truth, in the midst of con- 
flicting rumours and in the dearth of printed 
material, was often hard to ascertain, and since 
most of those engaged were of my personal 
acquaintance, it was often more than delicate to 
express. I must certainly have erred often and 


vi Preface 

much ; it is not for want of trouble taken nof 
of an impartial temper. And if my plain 
speaking shall cost me any of the friends that 
I still count, I shall be sorry, but I need not be 

In one particular the spelling of Samoan 
words has been altered ; and the characteristic 
nasal n of the language written throughout ng 
instead of g. Thus I put Pango-Pango, instead 
of Pago-Pago : the sound being that of soft ng 
in English ; as in singer, not as in finger. 

'■ R. L. S. 




Preface v 



Elements of Discord : Natt/e i 


Elements of Discord : Foreign . . 19 


The Sorrows of Laupepa (1883 to Septem- 
ber 1887) .40 


Brandeis {September 1887 to August 1888) . 87 

The Battle of Matautu {September 1888) . 117 

vili Contents 



Last Exploits of Becker {September- Novem- 
ber 1888) 140 


The Samoan Camps {November 1888) . .175 


Affairs of Laulii and Fangalii {November- 
December 1888) 190 


" Furor Consularis " {December 1888 to March 

1889) 219 

The Hurricane (March 1889) . . . 244 

Laupepa and Mataafa {1889-1892) . . 268 










The story I have to tell is still going on as 
I write ; the characters are alive and active ; it 
is a piece of contemporary history in the most 
exact sense. And yet, for all its actuality and 
the part played in it by mails and telegraphs 
and iron war-ships, the ideas and the manners 
of the native actors date back before the 
Roman Empire. They are Christians, church- 
goers, singers of hymns at family worship, 
hardy cricketers ; their books are printed in 
London by Spottiswoode, Triibner, or the Tract 
Society ; but in most other points they are the 
contemporaries of our tattooed ancestors who 
drove their chariots on the wrong side of the 
Roman wall. We have passed the feudal sys- 


2 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

tern ; they are not yet clear of the patriarchal. 
We are in the thick of the age of finance ; they 
are in a period of communism. And this makes 
them hard to understand. 

To us, with our feudal ideas, Samoa has the 
first appearance of a land of despotism. An 
elaborate courtliness marks the race alone 
among Polynesians ; terms of ceremony fly 
thick as oaths on board a ship ; commoners my- 
lord each other when they meet — and urchins 
as they play marbles. I And for the real noble 
a whole private dialect is set apart. \ The com- 
mon names for an axe, for blood, for bamboo, a 
bamboo knife, a pig, food, entrails, and an oven 
are taboo in his presence, as the common names 
for a bug and for many offices and members of 
the body are taboo in the drawing-rooms of 
English ladies. Special words are set apart 
for his leg, his face, his hair, his belly, his eye- 
lids, his son, his daughter, his wife, his wife's 
pregnancy, his wife's adultery, adultery with his 
wife, his dwelling, his spear, his comb, his sleep, 
his dreams, his anger, the mutual anger of sev- 
eral chiefs, his food, his pleasure in eating, the 
food and eating of his pigeons, his ulcers, his 

Elements of Discord : Native 3 

cough, his sickness, his recovery, his death, his 
being carried on a bier, the exhumation of his 
bones, and his skull after death. To address 
these demigods is quite a branch of knowledge, 
and he who goes to visit a high chief does well 
to make sure of the competence of his inter- 

preter. To complete " the picture, the same 
worcT signifies the watching of a virgin and the 
warding of a chief ; and the same word means 
to cherish a chief and to fondle a favourite 

Men like us, full of memories of feudalism, 
hear of a man so addressed, so flattered, and we 
leap at once to the conclusion that he is hered- 
itary and absolute. Hereditary he is ; born of 
a great family, he must always be a man of 
mark; but yet his office is elective and (in a 
weak sense) is held on good behaviour. Com- 
pare the case of a highland chief : born one of 
the great ones of his clan, he was sometimes 
appointed its chief officer and conventional 
father; was loved and respected and served and 
fed and died for implicitly, if he gave loyalty 
a chance ; and yet, if he sufficiently outraged 
clan sentiment, was liable to deposition. As to 

4 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

authority, the parallel is not so close. Doubtless 
the Samoan chief, if he be popular, wields a great 
influence ; but it is limited. Important matters 
are debated in a fono, or native parliament, with 
its feasting and parade, its endless speeches 
and polite genealogical allusions. Debated, I 
say — not decided; for even a small minority 
will often strike a clan or a province impotent. 
In the midst of these ineffective councils the 
chief sits usually silent: a kind of a gagged 
audience for village orators. And the deliver- 
ance of the fono seems (for the moment) to be 
final. The absolute chiefs of Tahiti and Ha- 
waii were addressed as plain John and Thomas ; 
the chiefs of Samoa are surfeited with lip- 
honour, but the seat and extent of their actual 
authority is hard to find. 

It is so in the members of the state, and 
worse in the belly. The idea of a sovereign 
pervades the air. The name we have ; the thing 
we are not so sure of. And the process of 
election to the chief power is a mystery. Cer- 
tain provinces have in their gift certain high 
titles, or names as they are called. These can 
only be attributed to the descendants of particu* 

Elements of Discord : Native 5 

lar lines. Once granted, each name conveys at 
once the principality (whatever that be worth) 
of the province which bestows it, and counts as 
one suffrage towards the general sovereignty of 
Samoa. To be indubitable king, they say — or 
some of them say, I find few in perfect har- 
mony — a man should resume five of these 
names in his own person. But the case is 
purely hypothetical ; local jealousy forbids its 
occurrence. There are rival provinces, far more 
concerned in the prosecution of their rivalry 
than in the choice of a right man for king. If 
one of these shall have bestowed its name on 
competitor A, it will be the signal and the suf- 
ficient reason for the other to bestow its name 
on competitor B or C. The majority of Savaii 
and that of Aana are thus in perennial oppo- 
sition. Nor is this all. In 188 1, Laupepa, 
the present king, held the three names of 
Maliet pa, Natoaitele, and Tamasoalii ; Tamasese 
held that of Tuiaana; and Mataafa that of 
Tuiatu a. Laupepa had thus a majority of suf- 
frages ; he held perhaps as high a proportion 
as can be hoped in these distracted islands ; 
and he counted among the number the prepon- 

6 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

derant name of Malietoa. Here, if ever, was 
an election. Here, if a king were at all pos< 
sible, was the king. And yet the natives were 
not satisfied. Laupepa was crowned, March 
19th ; and next month, the provinces of Aana 
and Atua met in joint parliament, and elected 
their own two princes, Tamasese and Mataafa, 
to an alternate monarchy, Tamasese taking the 
first trick of two years. War was imminent 
when the consuls interfered, and any war were 
preferable to the terms of the peace which they 
procured. By the Lackawanna treaty, Lau- 
pepa was confirmed king and Tamasese set by 
his side in the nondescript office of vice-king. 
The compromise was not, I am told, without 
precedent ; but it lacked all appearance of suc- 
cess. To the constitution of Samoa, which was 
already all wheels and no horses, the consuls 
had added a fifth wheel. In addition to the 
old conundrum, " Who is the king ? " they had 
supplied a new one, " What is the vice-king ? " 

Two royal lines; some cloudy idea of alter- 
nation between the two ; an electorate in which 
the vote of each province is immediately effec- 
tual, as regards itself, so that every candidate 

Elements of Discord : Native 7 

who attains one name becomes a perpetual and 
dangerous competitor for the other four: such 
are a few of the more trenchant absurdities. 
Many argue that the whole idea of sovereignty- 
is modern and imported ; but it seems impossi- 
ble that anything so foolish should have been 
suddenly devised, and the constitution bears on 
its front the marks of dotage. 

But the king, once elected and nominated, 
what does he become ? It may be said he 
remains precisely as he was. Election to one 
of the five names is significant ; it brings not 
only dign ity but power, and the holder is se- 
cure, from that moment, of a certain following 
in war. But I cannot find that the further step 
of election to the kingship implies anything 
worth mention. The successful candidate is 
now the Tupu Samoa, much good may it do 
him ! He can so sign himself on proclama- 
tions, which it does not follow that any one will 
heed. He can summon parliaments ; it does 
not follow they will assemble. If he be too 
flagrantly disobeyed, he can go to war. But 
so he could before, when he was only the chief 
of certain provinces. His own provinces will 


8 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

support him, the provinces of his rivals will 
take the field upon the other part ; just as 
before. In so far as he is the holder of any 
of the five names, in short, he is a man to be 
reckoned with ; in so far as he is king of 
Samoa, I cannot find but what the president 
of a college debating society is a far more for- 
midable officer. And unfortunately, although 
the credit side of the account proves thus imag- 
inary, the debit side is actual and heavy. For 
he is now set up to be the mark of consuls ; he 
will be badgered to raise taxes, to make roads, 
to punish crime, to quell rebellion : and how he 
is to do it is not asked. 

If I am in the least right in my presentation 
of this obscure matter, no one need be surprised 
to hear that the land is full of war and rumours 
of war. Scarce a year goes by but what some 
province is in arms, or sits sulky and men- 
acing, holding parliaments, disregarding the 
king's proclamations and planting food in the 
bush, the first step of military preparation. 
The religious sentiment of the people is in- 
deed for peace at any price ; no pastor can 
bear arms; and even the layman who does so 

Elements of Discord : Native 9 

is denied the sacraments. In the last war the 
college of Malua, where the picked youth are 
prepared for the ministry, lost but a single 
student; the rest, in the bosom of a bleeding 
country and deaf to the voices of vanity and 
honour, peacefully pursued their studies. But 
if the church looks askance on war, the warrior 
in no extremity of need or passion forgets his 
consideration for the church. The houses and 
gardens of her ministers stand safe in the midst 
of armies ; a way is reserved for themselves 
along the beach, where they may be seen in 
their white kilts and jackets openly passing 
the lines, while not a hundred yards behind 
the skirmishers will be exchanging the useless 
volleys of barbaric warfare. Women are also 
respected ; they are not fired upon ; and they 
are suffered to pass between the hostile camps, 
exchanging gossip, spreading rumour, and d*- 
vulging to either army the secret councils of 
the other. This is plainly no savage war ; it 
has all the punctilio of the barbarian, and all 
his parade ; feasts precede battles, fine dresses 
and songs decorate and enliven the field; and 
the young soldier comes to camp burning (on 

io Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

the one hand) to distinguish himself by acts 
of valour, and (on the other) to display his 
acquaintance with field etiquette. Thus after 
Mataafa became involved in hostilities against 
the Germans, and had another code to observe 
besides his own, he was always asking his white 
advisers if "things were done correctly." Let 
us try to be as wise as Mataafa, and to conceive 
that etiquette and morals differ in one country 
and another. We shall be the less surprised to 
find Samoan war defaced with some unpalate- 
able customs. The childish destruction of fruit 
trees in an enemy's country cripples the re- 
sources of Samoa ; and the habit of head hunt- 
ing not only revolts foreigners, but has begun 
to exercise the minds of the natives themselves. 
Soon after the German heads were taken, Mr. 
Carne, Wesleyan Missionary, had occasion to 
visit Mataafa's camp, and spoke of the practice 
with abhorrence. " Misi Kane," said one chief, 
"we have just been puzzling ourselves to guess 
where that custom came from. But, Misi, is it 
not so that when David killed Goliah, he cut off 
his head and carried it before the king ? " 

With the civil life of the inhabitants we have 

Elements of Discord ; Native 1 1 

far less to do; and yet even here a word of 
preparation is inevitable. They are easy, merry, 
and pleasure loving ; the gayest, though by far 
from either the most capable or the most beau- 
tiful of Polynesians. Fine dress is a passion, 
and makes a Samoan festival a thing of beauty. 
Song is almost ceaseless. The boatman sings 
at the oar, the family at evening worship, the 
girls at night in the guest house, sometimes the 
workman at his toil. No occasion is too small 
for the poets and musicians; a death, a visit, the 
day's news, the day's pleasantry, will do set to 
rhyme and harmony. Even half-grown girls, the 
occasion arising, fashion words and train cho- 
ruses of children for its celebration. Song, as 
with all Pacific islanders, goes hand in hand 
with the dance, and both shade into the drama. 
Some of the performances are indecent and 
ugly, some only dull ; others are pretty, funny, 
and attractive. Games are popular. Cricket 
matches, where a hundred played upon a side, 
endured at times for weeks, and ate up the 
country like the presence of an army. Fishing, 
the daily bath, flirtation; courtship, which is 
gone upon by proxy; conversation, which is 

12 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

largely political ; and the delights of public ora« 
tory, fill in the long hours. 

But the special delight of the Samoan is the 
malanga. When people form a party and go 
from village to village, junketting and gossip- 
ping, they are said to go on a malanga. Their 
songs have announced their approach ere they 
arrive; the guest house is prepared for their 
reception; the virgins of the village attend to 
prepare the kava bowl and entertain them with 
the dance ; time flies in the enjoyment of every 
pleasure which an islander conceives; and 
when the malanga sets forth, the same wel- 
come and the same joys expect them beyond 
the next cape, where the nearest village nestles 
in its grove of palms. To the visitors it is all 
golden; for the hosts, it has another side. In 
one or two words of the language the fact 
peeps slyly out. The same word {afemoeina) 
expresses " a long call " and " to come as a 
calamity " ; the same word (lesolosolou) signifies 
" to have no intermission of pain " and " to have 
no cessation, as in the arrival of visitors " ; and 
soua> used of epidemics, bears the sense of being 
overcome as with " fire, flood, or visitors." But 


Elements of Discord: Native 13 

the gem of the dictionary is the verb alovao, 
which illustrates its pages like a humorous wood- 
cut. It is used in the sense of " to avoid vis- 
itors," but it means literally " hide in the wood." 
So, by the sure hand of popular speech, we have 
the picture of the house deserted, the malanga 
disappointed, and the host that should have 
been quaking in the bush. 

We are thus brought to the beginning of a 
series of traits of manners, highly curious in 
themselves and essential to an understanding 
of the war. In Samoa authority sits on the 
one hand entranced; on the other, property 
stands bound in the midst of chartered marau- 
ders. What property exists is vested in the 
family, not in the individual; and of the loose 
communism in which a family dwells, the dic- 
tionary may yet again help us to some idea. 
I find a string of verbs with the following 
senses : to deal leniently with, as in helping 
oneself from a family plantation ; to give away 
without consulting other members of the 
family; to go to strangers for help instead of 
to relatives; to take from relatives without 
permission; to steal from relatives; to have 

14 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

plantations robbed by relatives. The ideal of 
conduct in the family, and some of its deprava- 
tions, appear here very plainly. The man who 
(in a native word of praise) is mata-ainga, a 
race-regarder, has his hand always open to his 
kindred ; the man who is not (in a native term 
of contempt) noa, knows always where to 
turn in any pinch of want or extremity of lazi- 
ness. Beggary within the family — and by the 
less self-respecting, without it — has thus grown 
into a custom and a scourge, and the dictionary 
teems with evidence of its abuse. Special 
words signify the begging of food, of un- 
cooked food, of fish, of pigs, of pigs for trav- 
ellers, of pigs for stock, of taro, of taro-tops, 
of taro-tops for planting, of tools, of flyhooks, 
of implements for netting pigeons, and of mats. 
It is true the beggar was supposed in time to 
make a return, somewhat as by the Roman 
contract of mutuum. But the obligation was 
only moral; it could not be, or was not, 
enforced; as a matter of fact, it was disre- 
garded. The language had recently to borrow 
from the Tahitians a word for debt; while by 
a significant excidence, it possessed a native 

Elements of Discord : Native 15 

expression for the failure to pay — " to omit 
to make a return for property begged." Con- 
ceive now the position of the householder 
besieged by harpies, and all defence denied 
him by the laws of honour. The sacramental 
gesture of refusal, his last and single resource, 
was supposed to signify "my house is desti- 
tute." Until that point was reached, in other 
words, the conduct prescribed for a Samoan 
was to give and to continue giving. But it 
does not appear he was at all expected to give 
with a good grace. The dictionary is well 
stocked with expressions standing ready, like 
missiles, to be discharged upon the locusts — 
"troop of shame-faced ones," "you draw in 
your head like a tern," " you make your voice 
small like a whistle pipe," "you beg like one 
delirious " ; and the verb pongitai, " to look 
cross," is equipped with the pregnant rider, 
"as at the sight of beggars." 

This insolence of beggars and the weakness 
of proprietors can only be illustrated by exam- 
ples. We have a girl in our service to whom 
we had given some finery, that she might wait 
at table, and (at her own request) some warm 

1 6 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

clothing against the cold mornings of the bush. 
She went on a visit to her family, and returned 
in an old tablecloth, her whole wardrobe having 
been divided out among relatives in the course 
of twenty-four hours. A pastor in the province 
of Atua, being a handy, busy man, bought a 
boat for a hundred dollars, fifty of which he 
paid down. Presently after, relatives came to 
him upon a visit and took a fancy to his new 
possession. "We have long been wanting a 
boat," said they. * Give us this one." So, 
when the visit was done, they departed in the 
boat. The pastor, meanwhile, travelled into 
Savaii the best way he could, sold a parcel of 
land, and begged mats among his other rela- 
tives, to pay the remainder of the price of the 
boat which was no longer his. You might 
think this was enough ; but some months later, 
the harpies, having broken a thwart, brought 
back the boat to be repaired and repainted by 
the original owner. 

Such customs, it might be argued, being 
double-edged, will ultimately right themselves. 
But it is otherwise in practice. Such folk as 
the pastor's harpy relatives will generally have 

Elements of Discord : Native 17 

a boat, and will never have paid for it; such 
men as the pastor may have sometimes paid 
for a boat, but they will never have one. It 
is there as it is with us at home ; the measure 
of the abuse of either system is the blackness 
of the individual heart. The same man, who 
would drive his poor relatives from his own 
door in England, would besiege in Samoa the 
doors of the rich ; and the essence of the dis- 
honesty in either case is to pursue one's own 
advantage and to be indifferent to the losses 
of one's neighbour. But the particular draw- 
back of the Polynesian system is to depress 
and stagger industry. To work more is there 
only to be more pillaged ; to save is impossible. 
The family has then made a good day of it 
when all are filled and nothing remains over 
for the crew of freebooters ; and the injustice 
of the system begins to be recognised even in 
Samoa. One native is said to have amassed 
a certain fortune ; two clever lads have individ- 
ually expressed to us their discontent with a 
system which taxes industry to pamper idle- 
ness ; and I hear that in one village of Savaii 
a law has been passed forbidding gifts under 
the penalty of a sharp fine- 

1 8 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

Under this economic regimen, the unpopu- 
larity of taxes, which strike all at the same 
time, which expose the industrious to a perfect 
siege of mendicancy, and the lazy to be actually 
condemned to a day's labour, may be imagined 
without words. It is more important to note 
the concurrent relaxation of all sense of prop- 
erty. From applying for help to kinsmen who 
are scarce permitted to refuse, it is but a step 
to taking from them (in the dictionary phrase) 
" without permission " ; from that to theft at 
large is but a hair's-breadth. 

Elements of Discord: Foreign 19 



The huge majority of Samoans, like other 
god-fearing folk "in other countries, are per- 
fectly content with their own manners. And 
upon one condition, it is plain they might en- 
joy themselves far beyond the average of man. 
Seated in islands very rich in food, the idleness 
of the many idle would scarce matter ; and the 
provinces might continue to bestow their names 
among rival pretenders, and fall into war and 
enjoy that awhile, and drop into peace and 
enjoy that, in a manner highly to be envied. 
But the condition — that they should be let 
alone — is now no longer possible. More than 
a hundred years ago, and following closely on 
the heels of Cook, an irregular invasion of ad- 
venturers began to swarm about the isles of the 
Pacific. The seven sleepers of Polynesia stand, 
still but half aroused, in the midst of the cen* 


20 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

tury of competition. And the island races, 
comparable to a shopful of crockery launched 
upon the stream of time, now fall to make 
their desperate voyage among pots of brass 
and adamant. 

Apia, the port and mart, is the seat of the 
political sickness of Samoa. At the foot of a 
peaked, woody mountain, the coast makes a 
deep indent, roughly semicircular. In front the 
barrier reef is broken by the fresh water of the 
streams ; if the swell be from the north, it 
enters almost without diminution ; and the war- 
ships roll dizzily at their moorings, and along 
the fringeing coral which follows the configura- 
tion of the beach, the surf breaks with a con- 
tinuous uproar. In wild weather, as the world 
knows, the roads are untenable. Along the 
whole shore, which is everywhere green and 
level and overlooked by inland mountain-tops, 
the town lies drawn out in strings and clus- 
ters. The western horn is Mulinuu, the east- 
ern, Matautu ; and from one to the other of 
these extremes, I ask the reader to walk. He 
will find more of the history of Samoa spread 
before his eyes in that excursion, than has yet 

Elements of Discord: Foreign 21 

been collected in the blue-books or the white- 
books of the world. Mulinuu (where the walk 
is to begin) is a flat, wind-swept promontory, 
planted with palms, backed against a swamp 
of mangroves, and occupied by a rather miser- 
able village. The reader is informed that this 
is the proper residence of the Samoan kings; 
he will be the more surprised to observe a 
board set up, and to read that this historic vil- 
lage is the property of the German firm. But 
these boards, which are among the commonest 
features of the landscape, may be rather taken 
to imply that the claim has been disputed. A 
little further east he skirts the stores, offices, 
and barracks of the firm itself. Thence he will 
pass through Matafele, the one really town-like 
portion of this long string of villages, by Ger- 
man bars and stores and the German consu- 
late ; and reach the Catholic mission and 
cathedral standing by the mouth of a small 
river. The bridge which crosses here (bridge 
of Mulivai) is a frontier ; behind is Matafele ; 
beyond, Apia proper; behind, Germans are 
supreme ; beyond, with but few exceptions, 
all is Anglo-Saxon. Here the reader will go 

Library of 

The Church College of 


22 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

forward past the stores of Mr. Moors (Ameri- 
can) and Messrs. MacArthur (English) ; past 
the English mission, the office of the English 
newspaper, the English church, and the old 
American consulate, till he reaches the mouth 
of a larger river, the Vaisingano. Beyond, in 
Matautu, his way takes him in the shade of 
many trees and by scattered dwellings, and 
presently brings him beside a great range of 
offices, the place and the monument of a Ger- 
man who fought the German firm during his 
life. His house (now he is dead) remains 
pointed like a discharged cannon at the citadel 
of his old enemies. Fitly enough, it is at pres- 
ent leased and occupied by Englishmen. A 
little further, and the reader gains the eastern 
flanking angle of the bay, where stands the 
pilot-house and signal post, and whence he can 
see, on the line of the main coast of the island, 
the British and the new American consulates. 

The course of his walk will have been enliv- 
ened by a considerable to and fro of pleasure 
and business. He will have encountered many 
varieties of whites, — sailors, merchants, clerks, 
priests, Protestant missionaries in their pith 

Elements of Discord: Foreign 23 

helmets, and the nondescript hangers-on of any 
island beach. And the sailors are sometimes 
in considerable force; but not the residents. 
He will think at times there are more sign- 
boards than men to own them. It may chance 
it is a full day in the harbour ; he will then have 
seen all manner of ships, from men-of-war and 
deep-sea packets to the labour-vessels of the 
German firm and the cockboat island schooner ; 
and if he be of an arithmetical turn, he may 
calculate that there are more whites afloat in 
Apia Bay than whites ashore in the whole 
Archipelago. On the other hand, he will have 
encountered all ranks of natives, chiefs and 
pastors in their scrupulous white clothes; per- 
haps the king himself, attended by guards in 
uniform ; smiling policemen with their pewter 
stars; girls, women, crowds of cheerful chil- 
dren. And he will have asked himself with 
some surprise where these reside. Here and 
there, in the back yards of European establish- 
ments, he may have had a glimpse of a native 
house elbowed in a corner; but since he left 
Mulinuu, none on the beach where islanders 
prefer to live, scarce one on the line of street 

24 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

The handful of whites have everything; the 
natives walk in a foreign town. A year ago, 
on a knoll behind a barroom, he might have 
observed a native house guarded by sentries 
and flown over by the standard of Samoa. He 
would then have been told it was the seat of 
government, driven (as I have to relate) over 
the Mulivai and from beyond the German town 
into the Anglo-Saxon. To-day, he will learn it 
has been carted back again to its old quarters. 
And he will think it significant that the king of 
the islands should be thus shuttled to and fro in 
his chief city at the nod of aliens. And then 
he will observe a feature more significant still : 
a house with some concourse of affairs, police- 
men and idlers hanging by, a man at a bank- 
counter overhauling manifests, perhaps a trial 
proceeding in the front verandah, or perhaps 
the council breaking up in knots after a stormy 
sitting. And he will remember that he is in 
the Eleele Sa, the " Forbidden Soil " or Neutral 
Territory of the treaties ; that the magistrate 
whom he has just seen trying native criminals 
is no officer of the native king's ; and that this, 
the only port and place of business in the king- 

Elements of Discord: Foreign 25 

dom, collects and administers its own revenue 
for its own behoof by the hands of white council- 
lors and under the supervision of white consuls. 
Let him go farther afield. He will find the 
roads almost everywhere to cease or to be made 
impassable by native pig-fences, bridges to be 
quite unknown, and houses of the whites to 
become at once a rare exception. Set aside 
the German plantations, and the frontier is 
sharp. At the boundary of the Eleele Sa f 
Europe ends, Samoa begins. Here, then, is 
a singular state of affairs : all the money, lux- 
ury, and business of the kingdom centred in 
one place ; that place excepted from the native 
government and administered by whites for 
whites; and the whites themselves holding it 
not in common but in hostile camps, so that 
it lies between them like a bone between two 
dogs, each growling, each clutching his own 

Should Apia ever choose a coat of arms, I 
have a motto ready : " Enter Rumour painted 
full of tongues." The majority of the natives 
do extremely little ; the majority of the whites 
are merchants with some four mails in the 

26 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

month, shopkeepers with some ten or twenty 
customers a day, and gossip is the common 
resource of all. The town hums to the day's 
news, and the bars are crowded with amateur 
politicians. Some are office-seekers, and ear- 
wig king and consul, and compass the fall of 
officials, with an eye to salary. Some are 
humourists, delighted with the pleasure of fac- 
tion for itself. " I never saw so good a place 
as this Apia," said one of these ; " you can be 
in a new conspiracy every day ! " Many, on 
the other hand, are sincerely concerned for the 
future of the country. The quarters are so 
close and the scale is so small, that perhaps 
not any one can be trusted always to preserve 
his temper. Every one tells everything he 
knows ; that is our country sickness. Nearly 
every one has been betrayed at times, and told 
a trifle more ; the way our sickness takes the 
predisposed. And the news flies, and the 
tongues wag, and fists are shaken. Pot boil 
and cauldron bubble ! 

Within the memory of man, the white people 
of Apia lay in the worst squalor of degrada- 
tion. They are now unspeakably improved, 

Elements of Discord : Foreign 27 

both men and women. To-day they must be 
called a more than fairly respectable population, 
and a much more than fairly intelligent. The 
whole would probably not fill the ranks of even 
an English half-battalion, yet there are a sur- 
prising number above the average in sense, 
knowledge, and manners. The trouble (for 
Samoa) is that they are all here after a liveli- 
hood. Some are sharp practitioners, some are 
famous (justly or not) for foul play in business. 
Tales fly. One merchant warns you against his 
neighbour; the neighbour on the first occasion is 
found to return the compliment : each with a 
good circumstantial story to the proof. There 
is so much copra in the islands, and no more ; a 
man's share of it is his share of bread; and 
commerce, like politics, is here narrowed to a 
focus, shows its ugly side, and becomes as 
personal as fisticuffs. Close at their elbows, in 
all this contention, stands the native looking on. 
Like a child, his true analogue, he observes, 
apprehends, misapprehends, and is usually 
silent. As in a child, a considerable intem- 
perance of speech is accompanied by some 
power of secrecy. News he publishes; his 

28 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

thoughts have often to be dug for. He looks 
on at the rude career of the dollar hunt, and 
wonders. He sees these men rolling in a luxury 
beyond the ambition of native kings ; he hears 
them accused by each other of the meanest 
trickery ; he knows some of them to be guilty ; 
and what is he to think ? He is strongly con- 
scious of his own position as the common milk 
cow ; and what is he to do ? " Surely these 
white men on the beach are not great chiefs ? " 
is a common question, perhaps asked with some 
design of flattering the person questioned. 
And one, stung by the last incident into an 
unusual flow of English, remarked to me : " I 
begin to be weary of white men on the beach." 
But the true centre of trouble, the head of the 
boil of which Samoa languishes, is the German 
firm. From the conditions of business, a great 
island house must ever be an inheritance of 
care ; and it chances that the greatest still afoot 
has its chief seat in Apia bay, and has sunk the 
main part of its capital in the island of Upolu. 
When its founder, John Caesar Godeffroy, went 
bankrupt over Russian paper and Westphalian 
iron, his most considerable asset was found to 

Elements of Discord: Foreign 29 

be the South Sea business. This passed (I un- 
derstand) through the hands of Baring Brothers 
in London, and is now run by a company rejoic- 
ing in the Gargantuan name of the Deutsche 
Handels und Plantagen Geselschaft fur Sud-See 
Inseln zu Hamburg. This piece of literature is 
(in practice) shortened to the D. H. and P. G., 
the Old Firm, the German Firm, the Firm, and 
(among humourists) the Long Handle Firm. 
Even from the deck of an approaching ship, 
the island is seen to bear its signature — 
zones of cultivation showing in a more vivid 
tint of green on the dark vest of forest. The 
total area in use is near ten thousand acres. 
Hedges of fragrant lime enclose, broad avenues 
intersect them. You shall walk for hours in 
parks of palm tree alleys, regular, like soldiers 
on parade ; in the recesses of the hills you may 
stumble on a mill-house, toiling and trembling 
there, fathoms deep in superincumbent forest. 
On the carpet of clean sward, troops of horses 
and herds of handsome cattle may be seen to 
browse; and to one accustomed to the rough 
luxuriance of the tropics, the appearance is of 
fairyland. The managers, many of them Ger« 

30 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

man sea-captains, are enthusiastic in their new 
employment. Experiment is continually afoot : 
coffee and cacao, both of excellent quality, are 
among the more recent outputs ; and from one 
plantation quantities of pineapples are sent at 
a particular season to the Sydney markets. A 
hundred and fifty thousand pounds of English 
money, perhaps two hundred thousand, lie 
sunk in these magnificent estates. In esti- 
mating the expense of maintenance, quite a 
fleet of ships must be remembered, and a strong 
staff of captains, supercargoes, overseers, and 
clerks. These last mess together at a liberal 
board ; the wages are high, and the staff is 
inspired with a strong and pleasing sentiment 
of loyalty to their employers. 

Seven or eight hundred imported men and 
women toil for the company on contracts of 
three or of five years, and at a hypothetical 
wage of a few dollars in the month. I am now 
on a burning question : the labour traffic ; and 
I shall ask permission in this place only to 
touch it with the tongs. Suffice it to say that in 
Queensland, Fiji, New Caledonia, and Hawaii 
it has been either suppressed or placed under 

Elements of Discord : Foreign 31 

close public supervision. In Samoa, where it 
still flourishes, there is no regulation of which 
the public receives any evidence ; and the dirty 
linen of the firm, if there be any dirty, and if 
it be ever washed at all, is washed in private. 
This is unfortunate, if Germans would believe 
it. But they have no idea of publicity, keep 
their business to themselves, rather affect to 
" move in a mysterious way," and are naturally 
incensed by criticisms, which they consider 
hypocritical, from men who would import 
" labour" for themselves, if they could afford 
it, and would probably maltreat them if they 
dared. It is said the whip is very busy on 
some of the plantations ; it is said that punitive 
extra-labour, by which the thrall's term of ser- 
vice is extended, has grown to be an abuse ; 
and it is complained that, even where that 
term is out, much irregularity occurs in the 
repatriation of the discharged. To all this I 
can say nothing, good or bad. A certain num- 
ber of the thralls, many of them wild negritos 
from the west, have taken to the bush, harbour 
there in a state partly bestial, or creep into 
the back quarters of the town to do a day's 

32 Eight Years of Trotible in Samoa 

stealthy labour under the nose of their pro- 
prietors. Twelve were arrested one morning 
in my own boys' kitchen. Further in the bush, 
huts, small patches of cultivation, and smoking 
ovens, have been found by hunters. There are 
still three runaways in the woods of Tutuila, 
whither they escaped upon a raft. And the 
Samoans regard these dark-skinned rangers 
with extreme alarm ; the fourth refugee in 
Tutuila was shot down (as I was told in that 
island) while carrying off the virgin of a vil- 
lage ; and tales of cannibalism run round the 
country, and the natives shudder about the 
evening fire. For the Samoans are not can- 
nibals, do not seem to remember any period 
when they were, and regard the practice with 
a disfavour equal to our own. 

The firm is Gulliver among the Lilliputs ; and 
it must not be forgotten, that while the small, 
independent traders are fighting for their own 
hand and inflamed with the usual jealousy 
against corporations, the Germans are inspired 
with a sense of the greatness of their affairs 
and interests. The thought of the money sunk, 
the sight of these costly and beautiful planta- 

Elements of Discord : Foreign 33 

tions menaced yearly by the returning forest, 
and the responsibility of administering with 
one hand so many conjunct fortunes, might 
well nerve the manager of such a company for 
desperate and questionable deeds. Upon this 
scale, commercial sharpness has an air of 
patriotism ; and I can imagine the man, so far 
from higgling over the scourge for a few Sol- 
omon islanders, prepared to oppress rival firms, 
overthrow inconvenient monarchs, and let loose 
the dogs of war. Whatever he may decide, he 
will not want for backing. Every clerk will be 
eager to be up and strike a blow; and most 
Germans in the group, whatever they may bab- 
ble of the firm over the walnuts and the wine, 
will rally round the national concern at the 
approach of difficulty. They are so few — I am 
ashamed to give their number, it were to chal- 
lenge contradiction — they are so few, and the 
amount of national capital buried at their feet 
is so vast, that we must not wonder if they 
seem oppressed with greatness and the sense of 
empire. Other whites take part in our brab- 
bles, while temper holds out, with a certain 
schoolboy entertainment. In the Germans 

34 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

alone, no trace of humour is to be observed, 
and their solemnity is accompanied by a touchi- 
ness often beyond belief. Patriotism flies in 
arms about a hen; and if you comment upon 
the colour of a Dutch umbrella, you have cast 
a stone against the German emperor. I give 
one instance, typical although extreme. One 
who had returned from Tutuila on the mail cut- 
ter complained of the vermin with which she 
is infested. He was suddenly and sharply 
brought to a stand. The ship of which he 
spoke, he was reminded, was a German ship. 
John Caesar Godeffroy himself had never 
visited the islands ; his sons and nephews came, 
indeed, but scarcely to reap laurels; and the 
mainspring and headpiece of this great con- 
cern, until death took him, was a certain re- 
markable man of the name of Theodor Weber. 
He was of an artful and commanding character; 
in the smallest thing or the greatest, without fear 
or scruple ; equally able to affect, equally ready 
to adopt, the most engaging politeness or the 
most imperious airs of domination. It was he 
who did most damage to rival traders ; it was he 
who most harried the Samoans ; and yet I 

Elements of Discord : Foreign 35 

never met any one, white or native, who did not 
respect his memory. All felt it was a gallant 
battle, and the man a great fighter; and now 
when he is dead, and the war seems to have 
gone against him, many can scarce remember, 
without a kind of regret, how much devotion 
and audacity have been spent in vain. His 
name still lives in the songs of Samoa. One, 
that I have heard, tells of Mist Ueba and a bis- 
cuit box — the suggesting incident being long 
since forgotten. Another sings plaintively how 
all things, land and food and property, pass pro- 
gressively, as by a law of nature, into the hands 
of Mist Ueba, and soon nothing will be left for 
Samoans. This is an epitaph the man would 
have enjoyed. 

At one period of his career, Weber combined 
the offices of director of the firm and consul for 
the City of Hamburg. No question but he then 
drove very hard. Germans admit that the com- 
bination was unfortunate ; and it was a German 
who procured its overthrow. Captain Zembsch 
superseded him with an imperial appointment, 
one still remembered in Samoa as "the gentle- 
man who acted justly." There was no house to 

36 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

be found, and the new consul must take up his 
quarters at first under the same roof with Weber. 
On several questions, in which the firm was 
vitally interested, Zembsch embraced the con- 
trary opinion. Riding one day with an English- 
man in Vailele plantation, he was startled by a 
burst of screaming, leaped from the saddle, ran 
round a house, and found an overseer beating 
one of the thralls. He punished the overseer, 
and, being a kindly and perhaps not a very 
diplomatic man, talked high of what he felt and 
what he might consider it his duty to forbid or 
to enforce. The firm began to look askance at 
such a consul; and worse was behind. A num- 
ber of deeds being brought to the consulate for 
registration, Zembsch detected certain transfers 
of land in which the date, the boundaries, the 
measure, and the consideration were all blank. 
He refused them with an indignation which he 
does not seem to have been able to keep to him- 
self ; and whether or not by his fault, some of 
these unfortunate documents became public. It 
was plain that the relations between the two 
flanks of the German invasion, the diplomatic 
and the commercial, were strained to bursting. 

Elements of Discord : Foreign 37 

But Weber was a man ill to conquer. Zembsch 
was recalled ; and from that time forth, whether 
through influence at home, or by the solicitations 
of Weber on the spot, the German consulate has 
shown itself very apt to play the game of the 
German firm. That game, we may say, was 
twofold, — the first part even praiseworthy, the 
second at least natural. On the one part, they 
desired an efficient native administration, to 
open up the country and punish crime ; they 
wished, on the other, to extend their own prov- 
inces and to curtail the dealings of their rivals. 
In the first, they had the jealous and diffident 
sympathy of all whites ; in the second, they had 
all whites banded together against them for their 
lives and livelihoods. It was thus a game of 
Beggar my Neighbour between a large merchant 
and some small ones. Had it so remained, it 
would still have been a cut-throat quarrel. But 
when the consulate appeared to be concerned, 
when the war-ships of the German Empire were 
thought to fetch and carry for the firm, the rage 
of the independent traders broke beyond re- 
straint. And, largely from the national touchi- 
ness and the intemperate speech of German 

38 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

clerks, this scramble among dollar hunters as- 
sumed the appearance of an inter-racial war. 

The firm, with the indomitable Weber at its 
head and the consulate at its back — there has 
been the chief enemy of Samoa. No English 
reader can fail to be reminded of John Com- 
pany ; and if the Germans appear to have been 
not so successful, we can only wonder that our 
own blunders and brutalities were less severely 
punished. Even on the field of Samoa, though 
German faults and aggressions make up the 
burthen of my story, they have been nowise 
alone. Three nations were engaged in this 
infinitesimal affray, and not one appears with 
credit. They figure but as the three ruffians 
of the elder playwrights. The States have the 
cleanest hands, and even theirs are not immacu- 
late. It was an ambiguous business when a 
private American adventurer was landed with 
his pieces of artillery from an American war- 
ship, and became prime minister to the king. 
It is true (even if he were ever really supported) 
that he was soon dropped and had soon sold 
himself for money to the German firm. I will 
leave it to the reader whether this trait dignifies 

Elements of Discord : Foreign 39 

or not the wretched story. And the end of it 
spattered the credit alike of England and the 
States, when this man (the premier of a friendly 
sovereign) was kidnapped and deported, on the 
requisition of an American consul, by the cap- 
tain of an English war-ship. I shall have to 
tell, as I proceed, of villages shelled on very 
trifling grounds by Germans ; the like has been 
done of late years, though in a better quarrel, 
by ourselves of England. I shall have to tell 
how the Germans landed and shed blood at 
Fangalii ; it was only in 1876 that we British 
had our own misconceived little massacre at 
Mulinuu. I shall have to tell how the Germans 
bludgeoned Malietoa with a sudden call for 
money ; it was something of the suddenest 
that Sir Arthur Gordon himself, smarting un- 
der a sensible public affront, made and enforced 
a somewhat similar demand. 

40 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 



You ride in a German plantation and see 
no bush, no soul stirring ; only acres of empty- 
sward, miles of cocoanut alley : a desert of 
food. In the eyes of the Samoan the place 
has the attraction of a park for the holiday 
schoolboy, of a granary for mice. We must 
add the yet more lively allurement of a haunted 
house, for over these empty and silent miles 
there broods the fear of the negrito cannibal. 
For the Samoan besides, there is something 
barbaric, unhandsome, and absurd in the idea 
of thus growing food only to send it from the 
land and sell it. A man at home who should 
turn all Yorkshire into one wheatfield, and 
annually burn his harvest on the altar of 
Mumbo-Jumbo, might impress ourselves not 
much otherwise. And the firm which does 
these things is quite extraneous, a wen that 

Sorrows of Laupepa 41 

might be excised to-morrow without loss but 
to itself : few natives drawing so much as day's 
wages; and the rest beholding in it only the 
occupier of their acres. The nearest villages 
have suffered most ; they see over the hedge 
the lands of their ancestors waving with useless 
cocoa-palms ; and the sales were often question- 
able, and must still more often appear so to 
regretful natives, spinning and improving yarns 
about the evening lamp. At the worst, then, 
to help oneself from the plantation will seem to 
a i'amoan very like orchard-breaking to the 
British schoolboy ; at the best, it will be thought 
a gallant Robin-Hoodish readjustment of a pub- 
lic wrong. 

And there is more behind. Not only is 
theft from the plantations regarded rather as 
a lark and peccadillo, the idea of theft in itself 
is not very clearly present to these communists ; 
and as to the punishment of crime in general, 
a great gulph of opinion divides the natives 
from ourselves. Indigenous punishments were 
short and sharp. Death, deportation by the 
primitive method of setting the criminal to sea 
in a canoe, fines, and in Samoa itself the pen- 

42 Eight ) 'cars of Trouble in Samoa 

alty of publicly biting a hot, ill-smelling root, 
comparable to a rough forfeit in a children's 
game — these are approved. The offender is 
killed, or punished and forgiven. We, on the 
other hand, harbour malice for a period of years : 
continuous shame attaches to the criminal ; 
even when he is doing his best — even when he 
is submitting to the worst form of torture, regu- 
lar work — he is to stand aside from life and 
from his family in dreadful isolation. These 
ideas most Polynesians have accepted in ap- 
pearance, as they accept other ideas of the 
whites ; in practice, they reduce it to a farce. I 
have heard the French resident in the Mar- 
quesas in talk with the French jailer of Tai-o- 
hae : " Eh bien, on sont vos prisomiiercs ? — Je 
erot's, mon commandant, qu'elles sont allocs quel- 
que part faire une visite." And the ladies 
would be welcome. This is to take the most 
savage of Polynesians ; take some of the most 
civilised. In Honolulu, convicts labour on the 
highways in piebald clothing, gruesome and 
ridiculous ; and it is a common sight to see 
the family of such an one troop out, about the 
dinner hour, wreathed with flowers and in theif 

Sorrows of Laupepa 43 

holiday best, to picnic with their kinsman on 
the public wayside. The application of these 
outlandish penalties, in fact, transfers the sym- 
pathy to the offender. Remember, besides, 
that the clan system, and that imperfect idea of 
justice which is its worst feature, are still lively 
in Samoa ; that it is held the duty of a judge to 
favour kinsmen, of a king to protect his vas- 
sals : and the difficulty of getting a plantation 
thief first caught, then convicted, and last of all 
punished, will appear. 

During the early eighties, the Germans 
looked upon this system with growing irrita- 
tion. They might see their convict thrust 
in jail by the front door; they could never 
tell how soon he was enfranchised by the 
back; and they need not be the least sur- 
prised if they met him, a few days after, 
enjoying the delights of a malanga. It was 
a banded conspiracy, from the king and the 
vice-king downward, to evade the law and de- 
prive the Germans of their profits. In 1883, 
accordingly, the consul, Dr. Stuebel, extorted 
a convention on the subject, in terms of which 
Samoans convicted of offences against German 

44 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

subjects were to be confined in a private jail 
belonging to the German firm. To Dr. Stuebel 
it seemed simple enough : the offenders were 
to be effectually punished, the sufferers par- 
tially indemnified. To the Samoans, the thing 
appeared no less simple, but quite different : 
" Malietoa was selling Samoans to Misi Ueba." 
What else could be expected ? Here was a 
private corporation engaged in making money ; 
to it was delegated, upon a question of profit 
and loss, one of the functions of the Samoan 
crown ; and those who make anomalies must 
look for comments. Public feeling ran unani- 
mous and high. Prisoners who escaped from 
the private jail were not recaptured or not 
returned, and Malietoa hastened to build a new 
prison of his own, whither he conveyed, or 
pretended to convey, the fugitives. In Octo- 
ber, 1885, a trenchant state paper issued from 
the German consulate. Twenty prisoners, the 
consul wrote, had now been at large for eight 
months from Weber's prison. It was pretended 
they had since then completed their term of 
punishment elsewhere. Dr. Stuebel did not 
seek to conceal his incredulity ; but he took 

Sorrows of Laupepa 45 

ground beyond; he declared the point irrele- 
vant. The law was to be enforced. The men 
were condemned to a certain period in Weber's 
prison ; they had run away ; they must now be 
brought back and (whatever had become of 
them in the interval) work out the sentence. 
Doubtless Dr. Stuebel's demands were substan- 
tially just; but doubtless also they bore from 
the outside a great appearance of harshness; 
and when the king submitted, the murmurs of 
the people increased. 

But Weber was not yet content. The law 
had to be enforced ; property, or at least the 
property of the firm, must be respected. And 
during an absence of the consul's, he seems to 
have drawn up with his own hand, and cer- 
tainly first showed to the king in his own 
house, a new convention. Weber here and 
Weber there. As an able man, he was per- 
haps in the right to prepare and propose con- 
ventions. As the head of a trading company, 
he seems far out of his part to be communi- 
cating state papers to a sovereign. The ad- 
ministration of justice was the colour, and I am 
willing to believe the purpose, of the new 

46 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

paper* but its effect was to depose the exist- 
ing government. A council of two Germans 
and two Samoans were to be invested with 
the right to make laws and impose taxes as 
might be " desirable for the common interest 
of the Samoan government and the German 
residents." The provisions of this council the 
king and vice-king were to sign blindfold. 
And by a last hardship, the Germans, who 
received all the benefit, reserved a right to 
recede from the agreement on six months' 
notice ; the Samoans, who suffered all the loss, 
were bound by it in perpetuity. I can never 
believe that my friend Dr. Stuebel had a hand 
in drafting these proposals ; I am only sur- 
prised he should have been a party to enforcing 
them, perhaps the chief error in these islands 
of a man who has made few. And they were 
enforced with a rigour that seems injudicious. 
The Samoans (according to their own account) 
were denied a copy of the document ; they 
were certainly rated and threatened ; their de- 
liberation was treated as contumacy ; two Ger- 
man war-ships lay in port, and it was hinted 
that these would shortly intervene. 

Sorrows of Letup ep a 47 

Succeed in frightening a child, and he takes 
refuge in duplicity. " Malietoa," one of the 
chiefs had written, "we know well we are in 
bondage to the great governments." It was 
now thought one tyrant might be better than 
three, and any one preferable to Germany. On 
the 5th November, 1885, accordingly, Laupepa, 
Tamasese, and forty-eight high chiefs met in 
secret, and the supremacy of Samoa was se- 
cretly offered to Great Britain for the second 
time in history. Laupepa and Tamasese still 
figured as king and vice-king in the eyes of 
Dr. Stuebel ; in their own, they had secretly 
abdicated, were become private persons, and 
might do what they pleased without binding 
or dishonouring their country. On the morrow, 
accordingly, they did public humiliation in the 
dust before the consulate, and five days later 
signed the convention. The last was done, it is 
claimed, upon an impulse. The humiliation, 
which it appeared to the Samoans so great a 
thing to offer, to the practical mind of Dr. 
Stuebel seemed a trifle to receive ; and the 
pressure was continued and increased. Lau- 
pepa and Tamasese were both heavy, well- 

48 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

meaning, inconclusive men. Laupepa, educated 
for the ministry, still bears some marks of it in 
character and appearance ; Tamascse was in 
private of an amorous and sentimental turn, but 
no one would have guessed it from his solemn 
and dull countenance. Impossible to conceive 
two less dashing champions for a threatened 
race ; and there is no doubt they were reduced 
to the extremity of muddlement and childish 
fear. It was drawing towards night on the 
10th, when this luckless pair and a chief of 
the name of Tuiatafu set out for the German 
consulate, still minded to temporize. As they 
went, they discussed their case with agitation. 
They could see the lights of the German war- 
ships as they walked — an eloquent reminder. 
And it was then that Tamasese proposed to 
sign the convention. " It will give us peace 
for the day," said Laupepa, " and afterwards 
Great Britain must decide." — "Better fight 
Germany than that ! " cried Tuiatafu, speaking 
words of wisdom, and departed in anger. But 
the two others proceeded on their fatal errand ; 
signed the convention, writing themselves king 
and vice-king, as they now believed themselves 

Sorrows of Laupepa 49 

to be no longer ; and with childish perfidy took 
part in a scene of " reconciliation " at the 
German consulate. 

Malietoa supposed himself betrayed by Tam- 
asese. Consul Churchward states with precis- 
ion that the document was sold by a scribe for 
thirty-six dollars. Twelve days later at least, 
November 22d, the text of the address to Great 
Britain came into the hands of Dr. Stuebel. The 
Germans may have been wrong before ; they 
were now in the right to be angry. They 
had been publicly, solemnly, and elaborately 
fooled; the treaty and the reconciliation were 
both fraudulent, with the broad, farcical fraudu- 
lency of children and barbarians. This history 
is much from the outside ; it is the digested re- 
port of eye-witnesses ; it can be rarely corrected 
from state papers ; and as to what consuls felt 
and thought, or what instructions they acted 
under, I must still be silent or proceed by guess. 
It is my guess that Stuebel now decided Malie- 
toa Laupepa to be a man impossible to trust 
and unworthy to be dealt with. And it is cer- 
tain that the business of his deposition was put 
in hand at once. The position of Weber, with 

5<D EigJu Years of Trouble t7i Samoa 

his knowledge of things native, his prestige, 
and his enterprising intellect, must have always 
made him influential with the consul : at this 
juncture he was indispensable. Here was the 
deed to be done; here the man of action. 
" Mr. Weber rested not," says Laupepa. It 
was " like the old days of his own consulate," 
writes Churchward. His messengers filled the 
isle ; his house was thronged with chiefs and 
orators ; he sat close over his loom, delightedly 
weaving the future. There was one thing requi- 
site to the intrigue, — a native pretender ; and 
the very man, you would have said, stood wait- 
ing : Mataafa, titular of Atua, descended from 
both the royal lines, late joint king with Tama- 
sese, fobbed off with nothing in the time of the 
Lackawanna treaty, probably mortified by the 
circumstance, a chief with a strong following, 
and in character and capacity high above the 
native average. Yet when Weber's spiriting 
was done, and the curtain rose on the set scene 
of the coronation, Mataafa was absent, and 
Tamasese stood in his place. Malietoa was to 
be deposed for a piece of solemn and offensive 
trickery, and the man selected to replace him 

Sorrows of Laupepa 5 1 

was his sole partner and accomplice in the act. 
For so strange a choice, good ground must have 
existed ; but it remains conjectural : some sup- 
posing Mataafa scratched as too independent; 
others that Tamasese had indeed betrayed Lau- 
pepa, and his new advancement was the price 
of his treachery. 

So these two chiefs began to change places 
like the scales of a balance, one down, the other 
up. Tamasese raised his flag (Jan. 28th, 1886) 
in Leulumoenga, chief place of his own prov- 
ince of Aana, usurped the style of king, and 
began to collect and arm a force. Weber, by 
the admission of Stuebel, was in the market 
supplying him with weapons ; so were the 
Americans ; so, but for our salutary British law, 
so would have been the British ; for wherever 
there is a sound of battle, there will the traders 
be gathered together selling arms. A little 
longer, and we find Tamasese visited and ad- 
dressed as king and majesty by a German 
commodore. Meanwhile, for the unhappy 
Malietoa, the road led downward. He was 
refused a bodyguard. He was turned out of 
Mulinuu, the seat of his royalty, on a land 

52 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

claim of Weber's, fled across the Mulivai, and 
" had the coolness " (German expression) to 
hoist his flag in Apia. He was asked " in the 
most polite manner," says the same account — 
" in the most delicate manner in the world," a 
reader of Marryat might be tempted to amend 
the phrase, — to strike his flag in his own capi- 
tal ; and on his " refusal to accede to this 
request," Dr. Stuebel appeared himself with 
ten men and an officer from the cruiser Alba- 
tross ; a sailor climbed into the tree and brought 
down the flag of Samoa, which was carefully 
folded and sent, " in the most polite manner," to 
its owner. The consuls of England and the 
States were there (the excellent gentlemen !) to 
protest. Last, and yet more explicit, the Ger- 
man commodore who visited and be-titled Tama- 
sese, addressed the king — we may surely say 
the late king — as "the High Chief Malietoa." 
Had he no party, then ? At that time, it 
is probable, he might have called some five- 
sevenths of Samoa to his standard. And yet 
he sat there, helpless monarch, like a fowl 
trussed for roasting. The blame lies with him- 
self, because he was a helpless creature; it 

Sorrows of Laupepa 53 

lies also with England and the States. Their 
agents on the spot preached peace (where there 
was no peace, and no pretence of it) with elo- 
quence and iteration. Secretary Bayard seems 
to have felt a call to join personally in the 
solemn farce, and was at the expense of a tele- 
gram in which he assured the sinking monarch 
it was " for the higher interests of Samoa " he 
should do nothing. There was no man better 
at doing that ; the advice came straight home, 
and was devoutly followed. And to be just 
to the great powers, something was done in 
Europe ; a conference was called, it was agreed 
to send commissioners to Samoa, and the decks 
had to be hastily cleared against their visit. 
Dr. Stuebel had attached the municipality of 
Apia and hoisted the German war-flag over 
Mulinuu ; the American consul (in a sudden 
access of good service) had flown the stars and 
stripes over Samoan colours ; on either side 
these steps were solemnly retracted. The Ger- 
mans expressly disowned Tamasese ; and the 
islands fell into a period of suspense, of some 
twelve months' duration, during which the seat 
of the history was transferred to other countries 

54 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

and escapes my purview. Here on the spot, I 
select three incidents : the arrival on the scene 
of a new actor, the visit of the Hawaiian em- 
bassy, and the riot on the emperor's birthday. 
The rest shall be silence ; only it must be borne 
in view that Tamasese all the while continued 
to strengthen himself in Leulumoenga, and 
Laupepa sat inactive listening to the song of 

Captain Brandeis. The new actor was Bran- 
deis, a Bavarian captain of artillery, of a roman- 
tic and adventurous character. He had served 
with credit in war; but soon wearied of garrison 
life, resigned his battery, came to the States, 
found employment as a civil engineer, visited 
Cuba, took a sub-contract on the Panama canal, 
caught the fever, and came (for the sake of the 
sea-voyage) to Australia. He had that natural 
love for the tropics which lies so often latent 
in persons of a northern birth ; difficulty and 
danger attracted him ; and when he was picked 
out for secret duty, to be the hand of Germany 
in Samoa, there is no doubt but he accepted 
the post with exhilaration. It is doubtful if a 

Sorrows of Laupepa 5 5 

better choice could have been made. He had 
courage, integrity, ideas of his own, and loved 
the employment, the people, and the place. 
Yet there was a fly in the ointment. The 
double error of unnecessary stealth and of the 
immixture of a trading company in political 
affairs, has vitiated and in the end defeated, 
much German policy. And Brandeis was intro- 
duced to the islands as a clerk, and sent down 
to Leulumoenga (where he was soon drilling the 
troops and fortifying the position of the rebel 
king) as an agent of the German firm. What 
this mystification cost in the end I shall tell in 
another place; and even in the beginning, it 
deceived no one. Brandeis is a man of notable 
personal appearance ; he looks the part allotted 
him ; and the military clerk was soon the centre 
of observation and rumour. Malietoa wrote 
and complained of his presence to Becker, who 
had succeeded Dr. Stuebel in the consulate. 
Becker replied, " I have nothing to do with the 
gentleman Brandeis. Be it well known that 
the gentleman Brandeis has no appointment 
in a military character, but resides peaceably 
assisting the government of Leulumoenga in 

56 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

their work, for Brandeis is a quiet, sensible 
gentleman." And then he promised to send 
the vice-consul to " get information of the cap- 
tain's doings " : surely supererogation of deceit. 

The Hawaiian Embassy. The prime minister 
of the Hawaiian kingdom was, at this period, an 
adventurer of the name of Gibson. He claimed, 
on the strength of a romantic story, to be the 
heir of a great English house. He had played 
a part in a revolt in Java, had languished in 
Dutch fetters, and had risen to be a trusted 
agent of Brigham Young, the Utah president. 
It was in this character of a Mormon emissary 
that he first came to the islands of Hawaii, 
where he collected a large sum of money for the 
Church of the Latter Day Saints. At a given 
moment, he dropped his saintship and appeared 
as a Christian and the owner of a part of the 
island of Lanai. The steps of the transforma- 
tion are obscure ; they seem, at least, to have 
been ill-received at Salt Lake ; and there is evi- 
dence to the effect that he was followed to the 
islands by Mormon assassins. His first attempt 
on politics was made under the auspices of what 

Sorrows of Laupep a 57 

is called the missionary party, and the canvass 
conducted largely (it is said with tears) on the 
platform at prayer meetings. It resulted in de- 
feat. Without any decency of delay he changed 
his colours, abjured the errors of reform, and, 
with the support of the Catholics, rose to the 
chief power. In a very brief interval he had 
thus run through the gamut of religions in the 
South Seas. It does not appear that he was any 
more particular in politics, but he was careful to 
consult the character and prejudices of the late 
king, Kalakaua. That amiable, far from unac- 
complished, but too convivial sovereign, had a 
continued use for money : Gibson was observ- 
ant to keep him well supplied. Kalakaua (one 
of the most theoretical of men) was filled with 
visionary schemes for the protection and devel- 
opment of the Polynesian race : Gibson fell in 
step with him ; it is even thought he may have 
shared in his illusions. The king and minister 
at least conceived between them a scheme of 
island confederation — the most obvious fault 
of which was that it came too late — and armed 
and fitted out the cruiser Kaimiloa, nest-egg of 
the future navy of Hawaii. Samoa, the most 

58 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

important group still independent and one 
immediately threatened with aggression, was 
chosen for the scene of action. The Hon. 
John E. Bush, a half-caste Hawaiian, sailed 
(December, 1887) for Apia as minister plenipo- 
tentiary, accompanied by a secretary of lega- 
tion, Henry F. Poor ; and, as soon as she was 
ready for sea, the war-ship followed in support. 
The expedition was futile in its course, almost 
tragic in result. The Kaimiloa was from the 
first a scene of disaster and dilapidation : the 
stores were sold ; the crew revolted ; for a 
great part of a night, she was in the hands of 
mutineers, and the secretary lay bound upon 
the deck. The mission, installing itself at first 
with extravagance in Matautu, was helped at 
last out of the island by the advances of a pri- 
vate citizen. And they returned from dreams 
of Polynesian independence to find their own 
city in the hands of a clique of white shopkeep- 
ers, and the great Gibson once again in jail. 
Yet the farce had not been quite without effect. 
It had encouraged the natives for the moment, 
and it seems to have ruffled permanently the 
temper of the Germans. So might a fly irritate 

Sorrows of Laupepa 59 

The arrival of a mission from Hawaii would 
scarce affect the composure of the courts of 
Europe. But in the eyes of Polynesians the 
little kingdom occupies a place apart. It is 
there alone that men of their race enjoy most 
of the advantages and all the pomp of inde- 
pendence ; news of Hawaii and descriptions of 
Honolulu are grateful topics in all parts of the 
South Seas ; and there is no better introduction 
than a photograph in which the bearer shall be 
represented in company with Kalakaua. Lau- 
pepa was, besides, sunk to the point at which 
an unfortunate begins to clutch at straws, and 
he received the mission with delight. Letters 
were exchanged between him and Kalakaua; 
a deed of confederation was signed, 17th Feb- 
ruary, 1887, and the signature celebrated in the 
new house of the Hawaiian embassy with some 
original ceremonies. Malietoa came, attended 
by his ministry, several hundred chiefs, two 
guards, and six policemen. Laupepa, always 
decent, withdrew at an early hour; by those 
that remained, all decency appears to have 
been forgotten ; high chiefs were seen to 
dance ; and day found the house carpeted with 

60 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

slumbering grandees, who must be roused, 
doctored with coffee, and sent home. As a 
first chapter in the history of Polynesian Con- 
federation, it was hardly cheering, and Lau- 
pepa remarked to one of the embassy, with 
equal dignity and sense : " If you have come 
here to" teach my people to drink, I wish you 
had stayed away." 

The Germans looked on from the first with 
natural irritation that a power of the powerless- 
ness of Hawaii should thus profit by its unde- 
niable footing in the family of nations, and 
send embassies, and make believe to have a 
navy, and bark and snap at the heels of the 
great German Empire. But Becker could not 
prevent the hunted Laupepa from taking 
refuge in any hole that offered, and he could 
afford to smile at the fantastic orgie in the 
embassy. It was another matter when the 
Hawaiians approached the intractable Mataafa, 
sitting still in his Atua government like Achilles 
in his tent, helping neither side, and (as the 
Germans suspected) keeping the eggs warm 
for himself. When the Kaimiloa steamed out 
of Apia on this visit, the German war-ship Adlef 

Sorrows of Laupepa 61 

followed at her heels ; and Mataafa was no 
sooner set down with the embassy than he was 
summoned and ordered on board by two Ger- 
man officers. The step is one of those tri- 
umphs of temper which can only be admired. 
Mataafa is entertaining the plenipotentiary of 
a sovereign power in treaty with his own king, 
and the captain of a German corvette orders 
him to quit his guests. 

But there was worse to come. I gather that 
Tamasese was at the time in the sulks. He 
had doubtless been promised prompt aid and 
a prompt success ; he had seen himself surrep- 
titiously helped, privately ordered about, and 
publicly disowned ; and he was still the king 
of nothing more than his own province and 
already the second in command of Captain 
Brandeis. With the adhesion of some part of 
his native cabinet and behind the back of his 
white minister, he found means to communicate 
with the Hawaiians. A passage on the Kai- 
miloa, a pension, and a home in Honolulu were 
the bribes proposed ; and he seems to have 
been tempted. A day was set for a secret 
interview. Poor, the Hawaiian secretary, and 

62 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

J. D. Strong, an American painter attached to 
the embassy in the surprising quality of " Gov- 
ernment Artist," landed with a Samoan boat's- 
crew in Aana; and while the secretary hid 
himself, according to agreement, in the outlying 
home of an English settler, the artist (ostensi- 
bly bent on photography) entered the head- 
quarters of the rebel king. It was a great day 
in Leulumoenga; three hundred recruits had 
come in, a feast was cooking ; and the photog- 
rapher, in view of the native love of being 
photographed, was made entirely welcome. 
But beneath the friendly surface all were on the 
alert. The secret had leaked out: Weber 
beheld his plans threatened in the root ; Bran- 
deis trembled for the possession of his slave 
and sovereign ; and the German vice-consul, 
Mr. Sonnenschein, had been sent or summoned 
to the scene of danger. 

It was after dark, prayers had been said and 
the hymns sung through all the village, and 
Strong and the Germans sat together on the 
mats in the house of Tamasese, when the events 
began. Strong speaks German freely, a fact 
which he had not disclosed, and he was scarce 

Sorrows of Laupepa 63 

more amused than embarrassed to be able to 
follow all the evening the dissension and the 
changing counsels of his neighbours. First the 
king himself was missing, and there was a false 
alarm that he had escaped and was already 
closeted with Poor. Next came certain intelli- 
gence that some of the ministry had run the 
blockade, and were on their way to the house 
of the English settler. Thereupon, in spite of 
some protests from Tamasese, who tried to 
defend the independence of his cabinet, Bran- 
deis gathered a posse of warriors, marched out 
of the village, brought back the fugitives, and 
clapped them in the corrugated iron shanty 
which served as jail. Along with these he 
seems to have seized Billy Coe, interpreter to 
the Hawaiians ; and Poor, seeing his conspiracy 
public, burst with his boat's-crew into the town, 
made his way to the house of the native prime 
minister, and demanded Coe's release. Bran- 
deis hastened to the spot, with Strong at his 
heels ; and the two principals being both in- 
censed, and Strong seriously alarmed for his 
friend's safety, there began among them a scene 
of great intemperance. At one point, when 

64 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

Strong suddenly disclosed his acquaintance with 
German, it attained a high style of comedy ; at 
another, when a pistol was most foolishly drawn, 
it bordered on drama ; and it may be said to 
have ended in a mixed genus, when Poor was 
finally packed into the corrugated iron jail 
along with the forfeited ministers. Meanwhile 
the captain of his boat, Siteoni, of whom I shall 
have to tell again, had cleverly withdrawn the 
boat's-crew at an early stage of the quarrel. 
Among the population beyond Tamasese's 
marches, he collected a body of armed men, 
returned before dawn to Leulumoenga, demol- 
ished the corrugated iron jail, and liberated the 
Hawaiian secretary and the rump of the rebel 
cabinet. No opposition was shown ; and doubt- 
less the rescue was connived at by Brandeis, 
who had gained his point. Poor had the face 
to complain the next day to Becker ; but to 
compete with Becker in effrontery was labour 
lost. " You have been repeatedly warned, Mr. 
Poor, not to expose yourself among these sav- 
ages," said he. 

Not long after, the presence of the Kaimiloa 
was made a casus belli by the Germans ; and 

Sorrows of Laupepa 65 

the rough-and-tumble embassy withdrew, on 
borrowed money, to find their own government 
in hot water to the neck. 

The Emperor s Birthday. It is possible, and 
it is alleged, that the Germans entered into the 
conference with hope. But it is certain they 
were resolved to remain prepared for either 
fate. And I take the liberty of believing that 
Laupepa was not forgiven his duplicity; that, 
during this interval, he stood marked like a tree 
for felling; and that his conduct was daily 
scrutinised for further pretexts of offence. On 
the evening of the emperor's birthday, March 
22d, 1887, certain Germans were congregated 
in a public bar. The season and the place 
considered, it is scarce cynical to assume they 
had been drinking; nor, so much being 
granted, can it be thought exorbitant to sup- 
pose them possibly in fault for the squabble 
that took place. A squabble, I say ; but I am 
willing to call it a riot. And this was the new 
fault of Laupepa ; this it is that was described 
by a German commodore as " the trampling 
upon by Malietoa of the German emperor." 

66 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

I pass the rhetoric by to examine the point 
of liability. Four natives were brought to trial 
for this horrid fact : not before a native judge, 
but the German magistrate of the tripartite 
municipality of Apia. One was acquitted, 
one condemned for theft, and two for assault. 
On appeal, not to Malietoa, but the three con- 
suls, the case was by a majority of two to one 
returned to the magistrate and (as far as I can 
learn) was then allowed to drop. Consul 
Becker himself laid the chief blame on one of 
the policemen of the municipality, a half white 
of the name of Scanlon. Him he sought to 
have discharged, but was again baffled by his 
brother consuls. Where, in all this, are we to 
find a corner of responsibility for the king of 
Samoa ? Scanlon, the alleged author of the 
outrage, was a half white ; as Becker was to 
learn to his cost, he claimed to be an American 
subject; and he was not even in the king's 
employment. Apia, the scene of the outrage, 
was outside the king's jurisdiction by treaty; 
by the choice of Germany, he was not so much 
as allowed to fly his flag there. And the denial 
of justice (if justice were denied) rested with 
the consuls of Britain and the States. 

Sorrows of Lanpepa 67 

But when a dog is to be beaten, any stick 
will serve. In the meanwhile, on the proposi- 
tion of Mr. Bayard, the Washington conference 
on Samoan affairs was adjourned till autumn, so 
that " the ministers of Germany and Great Brit- 
ain might submit the protocols to their respec- 
tive governments." — "You propose that the 
conference is to adjourn and not be broken 
up?" asked Sir Lionel West. — "To adjourn 
for the reasons stated," replied Bayard. This 
was on July 26th ; and, twenty-nine days later, 
by Wednesday the 24th of August, Germany 
had practically seized Samoa. For this flagrant 
breach of faith one excuse is openly alleged ; 
another whispered. It is openly alleged that 
Bayard had shown himself impracticable ; it is 
whispered that the Hawaiian embassy was an 
expression of American intrigue, and that the 
Germans only did as they were done by. The 
sufficiency of these excuses may be left to the 
discretion of the reader. But however excused, 
the breach of faith was public and express ; it 
must have been deliberately predetermined ; 
and it was resented in the States as a deliberate 

68 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

By the middle of August, 1887, there were 
five sail of German war-ships in Apia bay ; the 
Bismarck of 3000 tons displacement ; the Carola, 
the Sophie, and the Olga, all considerable ships ; 
and the beautiful Adler, which lies there to this 
day, kanted on her beam, dismantled, scarlet 
with rust, the day showing through her ribs. 
They waited inactive, as a burglar waits till the 
patrol goes by. And on the 23d, when the 
mail had left for Sydney, when the eyes of 
the world were withdrawn, and Samoa plunged 
again for a period of weeks into her original 
island-obscurity, Becker opened his guns. The 
policy was too cunning to seem dignified; it 
gave to conduct which would otherwise have 
seemed bold and even brutally straightforward, 
the appearance of a timid ambuscade; and 
helped to shake men's reliance on the word of 
Germany. On the day named, an ultimatum 
reached Malietoa at Afenga, whither he had 
retired months before to avoid friction. A fine 
of one thousand dollars and an ifo, or public 
humiliation, were demanded for the affair of the 
emperor's birthday. Twelve thousand dollars 
were to be " paid quickly " for thefts from Ger- 

Sorrows of Laupepa 69 

man plantations in the course of the last four 
years. " It is my opinion that there is nothing 
just or correct in Samoa while you are at the 
head of the government," concluded Becker. 
" I shall be at Afenga in the morning of to- 
morrow, Wednesday, at 11 a.m." The blow fell 
on Laupepa (in his own expression) "out of 
the bush " ; the dilatory fellow had seen things 
hang over so long, he had perhaps begun to 
suppose they might hang over forever; and 
here was ruin at the door. He rode at once to 
Apia, and summoned his chiefs. The council 
lasted all night long. Many voices were for 
defiance. But Laupepa had grown inured to a 
policy of procrastination ; and the answer ulti- 
mately drawn only begged for delay till Satur- 
day, the 27th. So soon as it was signed, the 
king took horse and fled in the early morning 
to Afenga ; the council hastily dispersed ; and 
only three chiefs, Selu, Seumanu, and Le 
Mamea, remained by the government building, 
tremulously expectant of the result. 

By seven, the letter was received. By 7.30, 
Becker arrived in person, inquired for Laupepa, 
was evasively answered, and declared war on 

70 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

the spot. Before eight, the Germans (seven 
hundred men and six guns) came ashore and 
seized and hoisted German colours on the 
government building. The three chiefs had 
made good haste to escape ; but a considerable 
booty was made of government papers, fire- 
arms, and some seventeen thousand cartridges. 
Then followed a scene which long rankled in 
the minds of the white inhabitants, when the 
German marines raided the town in search of 
Malietoa, burst into private houses, and were 
accused (I am willing to believe on slender 
grounds) of violence to private persons. 

On the morrow, the 25th, one of the German 
war-ships, which had been despatched to Leu- 
lumoenga over night, re-entered the bay, flying 
the Tamasese colours at the fore. The new 
king was given a royal salute of twenty-one 
guns, marched through the town by the com- 
modore and a German guard of honour, and 
established on Mulinuu with two or three hun- 
dred warriors. Becker announced his recog- 
nition to the other consuls. These replied by 
proclaiming Malietoa, and in the usual mealy- 
mouthed manner advised Samoans to do noth- 

Sorrows of Laupepa 71 

ing. On the 27th, martial law was declared ; 
and on the 1st September, the German squad- 
ron dispersed about the group, bearing along 
with them the proclamations of the new king. 
Tamasese was now a great man, to have five 
iron war-ships for his post-runners. But the 
moment was critical. The revolution had to 
be explained, the chiefs persuaded to assem- 
ble at a fono summoned for the 15th; and 
the ships carried not only a store of printed 
documents, but a squad of Tamasese orators 
upon their round. 

Such was the German coup d'etat. They 
had declared war with a squadron of five ships 
upon a single man ; that man, late king of the 
group, was in hiding on the mountains ; and 
their own nominee, backed by German guns 
and bayonets, sat in his stead in Mulinuu. 

One of the first acts of Malietoa, on fleeing 
to the bush, was to send for Mataafa twice : 
" I am alone in the bush ; if you do not come 
quickly, you will find me bound." It is to be 
understood the men were near kinsmen, and 
had (if they had nothing else) a common jeal- 
ousy. At the urgent cry, Mataafa set forth 

72 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

from Falefa, and came to Mulinuu to Tama- 
sese. "What is this that you and the Ger- 
man commodore have decided on doing?" he 
inquired. — "I am going to obey the German 
consul," replied Tamasese, " whose wish it is 
that I should be the king and that all Samoa 
should assemble here." — "Do not pursue in 
wrath against Malietoa," said Mataafa; "but 
try to bring about a compromise, and form a 
united government." — "Very well," said Tama- 
sese, "leave it to me, and I will try." From 
Mulinuu, Mataafa went on board the Bismarck, 
and was graciously received. " Probably," said 
the commodore, " we shall bring about a recon- 
ciliation of all Samoa through you " ; and then 
asked his visitor if he bore any affection to 
Malietoa. " Yes," said Mataafa. — " And to 
Tamasese ? " — " To him also ; and if you desire 
the weal of Samoa, you will allow either him 
or me to bring about a reconciliation." — "If it 
were my will," said the commodore, " I would 
do as you say. But I have no will in the 
matter. I have instructions from the Kaiser, 
and I cannot go back again from what I have 
been sent to do." — "I thought you would be 

Sorrows of Laupepa 73 

commended," said Mataafa, "if you brought 
about the weal of Samoa." — "I will tell you," 
said the commodore. " All shall go quietly. 
But there is one thing that must be done: 
Malietoa must be deposed. I will do nothing 
to him beyond ; he will only be kept on board 
for a couple of months and be well treated, 
just as we Germans did to the French chief 
[Napoleon III.] some time ago, whom we 
kept awhile and cared for well." Becker was 
no less explicit : war, he told Sewall, should 
not cease till the Germans had custody of 
Malietoa and Tamasese should be recognised. 
Meantime, in the Malietoa provinces, a pro- 
found impression was received. People trooped 
to their fugitive sovereign in the bush. Many 
natives in Apia brought their treasures, and 
stored them in the houses of white friends. 
The Tamasese orators were sometimes ill re- 
ceived. Over in Savaii, they found the village 
of Satupaitea deserted, save for a few lads at 
cricket. These they harangued, and were re- 
warded with ironical applause ; and the procla- 
mation, as soon as they had departed, was torn 
down. For this offence the village was ulti- 

74 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

mately burned by German sailors, in a very 
decent and orderly style, on the 3d September. 
This was the dinner-bell of the fono on the 
15th. The threat conveyed in the terms of the 
summons — " If any government district does 
not quickly obey this direction, I will make war 
on that government district" — was thus com- 
mented on and reinforced. And the meeting 
was in consequence well attended by chiefs of 
all parties. They found themselves unarmed 
among the armed warriors of Tamasese and 
the marines of the German squadron, and under 
the guns of five strong ships. Brandeis rose ; 
it was his first open appearance, the German 
firm signing its revolutionary work. His words 
were few and uncompromising : " Great are my 
thanks that the chiefs and heads of families of 
the whole of Samoa are assembled here this 
day. It is strictly forbidden that any discus- 
sion should take place as to whether it is good 
or not that Tamasese is king of Samoa, whether 
at this fono or at any future fono. I place for 
your signature the following: ' We inform all 
the people of Samoa of what follows : (1) The 
government of Samoa has been assumed by King 

Sorrows of Laupepa 75 

Tuiaana Tamasese. (2) By order of the king, it 
was directed that a fono should take place to-day, 
composed of the chiefs and heads of families, and 
we have obeyed the summons. We have signed 
our names under this, \$th September, 1887.' ' 
Needs must under all these guns ; and the 
paper was signed, but not without open sullen- 
ness. The bearing of Mataafa in particular 
was long remembered against him by the Ger- 
mans. "Do you not see the king?" said the 
commodore, reprovingly. " His father was no 
king," was the bold answer. A bolder still has 
been printed, but this is Mataafa's own recol- 
lection of the passage. On the next day, the 
chiefs were all ordered back to shake hands 
with Tamasese. Again they obeyed ; but again 
their attitude was menacing, and some, it is 
said, audibly murmured as they gave their 

It is time to follow the poor Sheet of Paper 
(literal meaning of Laupepa), who was now to 
be blown so broadly over the face of earth. As 
soon as news reached him of the declaration of 
war, he fled from Afenga to Tanungamanono, 
a hamlet in the bush, about a mile and a half 

76 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

behind Apia, where he lurked some days. On 
the 24th, Selu, his secretary, despatched to the 
American consul an anxious appeal, his maj- 
esty's "cry and prayer" in behalf of "this 
weak people." By August 30th, the Germans 
had word of his lurking-place, surrounded the 
hamlet under cloud of night, and in the early 
morning burst with a force of sailors on the 
houses. The people fled on all sides, and were 
fired upon. One boy was shot in the hand, th.e 
first blood of the war. But the king was no- 
where to be found; he had wandered further, 
over the woody mountains, the backbone of the 
land, towards Siumu and Safata. Here, in a 
safe place, he built himself a town in the forest, 
where he received a continual stream of visitors 
and messengers. Day after day the German 
blue-jackets were employed in the hopeless 
enterprise of beating the forests for the fugi- 
tive; day after day they were suffered to pass 
unhurt under the guns of ambushed Samoans ; 
day after day they returned, exhausted and 
disappointed, to Apia. Seumanu Tafa, high 
chief of Apia, was known to be in the forest 
with the king; his wife, Fatulia, was seized, 

Sorrows of Laupepa 77 

imprisoned in the German hospital, and when 
it was thought her spirit was sufficiently 
reduced, brought up for cross-examination. 
The wise lady confined herself in answer to a 
single word. " Is your husband near Apia ? " 

— " Yes." — " Is he far from Apia ? " — " Yes." 

— "Is he with the king? " — "Yes."— "Are he 
and the king in different places?" — "Yes." 
Whereupon the witness was discharged. About 
the ioth of September, Laupepa was secretly 
in Apia at the American consulate with two 
companions. The German pickets were close 
set and visited by a strong patrol; and on 
his return, his party was observed and hailed 
and fired on by a sentry. They ran away on 
all fours in the dark, and so doing plumped 
upon another sentry, whom Laupepa grappled 
and flung in a ditch ; for the Sheet of Paper, 
although infirm of character, is like most Sa- 
moans, of an able body. The second sentry 
(like the first) fired after his assailants at ran- 
dom in the dark; and the two shots awoke 
the curiosity of Apia. On the afternoon of 
the 16th, the day of the hand-shakings, Suatele, 
a high chief, despatched two boys across the 

78 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

island with a letter. They were most of the 
night upon the road; it was near three in the 
morning before the sentries in the camp of 
Malietoa beheld their lantern drawing near out 
of the wood ; but the king was at once awak- 
ened. The news was decisive and the letter 
peremptory; if Malietoa did not give himself 
up before ten on the morrow, he was told that 
great sorrows must befall his country. I have 
not been able to draw Laupepa as a hero; 
but he is a man of certain virtues, which the 
Germans had now given him an occasion to 
display. Without hesitation he sacrificed him- 
self, penned his touching farewell to Samoa, 
and making more expedition than the mes- 
sengers, passed early behind Apia to the 
banks of the Vaisingano. As he passed, he 
detached a messenger to Mataafa at the Cath- 
olic mission. Mataafa followed by the same 
road, and the pair met at the riverside and went 
and sat together in a house. All present were 
in tears. " Do not let us weep," said the talk- 
ing man, Lauati. " We have no cause for 
shame. We do not yield to Tamasese, but to 
the invincible strangers." The departing king 

Sorrows of Laupepa 79 

bequeathed the care of his country to Mataafa ; 
and when the latter sought to console him with 
the commodore's promises, he shook his head, 
and declared his assurance that he was going 
to a life of exile and perhaps to death. About 
two o'clock the meeting broke up ; Mataafa 
returned to the Catholic mission by the back 
of the town ; and Malietoa proceeded by the 
beach road to the German naval hospital, where 
he was received (as he owns, with perfect civil- 
ity) by Brandeis. About three, Becker brought 
him forth again. As they went to the wharf, 
the people wept and clung to their departing 
monarch. A boat carried him on board the 
Bismarck, and he vanished from his country- 
men. Yet it was long rumoured that he still 
lay in the harbour ; and so late as October 
7th, a boy, who had been paddling round the 
Carola, professed to have seen and spoken with 
him. Here again the needless mystery affected 
by the Germans bitterly disserved them. The 
uncertainty which thus hung over Laupepa's 
fate, kept his name continually in men's mouths. 
The words of his farewell rang in their ears : 
" To all Samoa : On account of my great love 

80 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

to my country and my great affection to all 
Samoa, this is the reason that I deliver up my 
body to the German government. That gov- 
ernment may do as they wish to me. The 
reason of this is, because I do not desire that 
the blood of Samoa shall be spilt for me again. 
But I do not know what is my offence which 
has caused their anger to me and to my coun- 
try." And then, apostrophising the different 
provinces : " Tuamasanga, farewell ! Manono 
and family, farewell ! So, also, Salafai, Tutuila, 
Aana, and Atua, farewell ! If we do not again 
see one another in this world, pray that we 
may be again together above." So the sheep 
departed with the halo of a saint, and men 
thought of him as of some King Arthur 
snatched into Avillion. 

On board the Bismarck, the commodore shook 
hands with him, told him he was to be " taken 
away from all the chiefs with whom he had 
been accustomed," and had him taken to the 
wardroom under guard. The next day he was 
sent to sea in the Adler. There went with him 
his brother Moli, one Meisake, and one Alualu, 
half-caste German, to interpret. He was re- 

Sorrows of Laupepa 81 

spectfully used ; he dined in the stern with the 
officers, but the boys dined " near where the fire 
was." They came to a "newly-formed place" 
in Australia, where the Albatross was lying, and 
a British ship, which he knew to be a man-of- 
war " because the officers were nicely dressed 
and wore epaulettes." Here he was tran- 
shipped, "in a boat with a screen," which he 
supposed was to conceal him from the British 
ship ; and on board the Albatross was sent 
below and told he must stay there till they had 
sailed. Later, however, he was allowed to 
come on deck, where he found they had rigged 
a screen (perhaps an awning) under which he 
walked, looking at " the newly formed settle- 
ment," and admiring a big house "where he 
was sure the governor lived." From Aus- 
tralia, they sailed some time, and reached an 
anchorage where a consul-general came on 
board, and where Laupepa was only allowed 
on deck at night. He could then see the 
lights of a town with wharves ; he supposes 
Cape Town. Off the Cameroons they anchored 
or lay-to, far at sea, and sent a boat ashore to 
see (he supposes) that there was no British 

82 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

man-of-war. It was the next morning before 
the boat returned, when the Albatross stood in 
and came to anchor near another German ship. 
Here Alualu came to him on deck and told him 
this was the place. " That is an astonishing 
thing," said he. " I thought I was to go to Ger- 
many, I do not know what this means ; I do not 
know what will be the end of it ; my heart is 
troubled." Whereupon Alualu burst into tears. 
A little after, Laupepa was called below to the 
captain and the governor. The last addressed 
him : " This is my own place, a good place, a 
warm place. My house is not yet finished, but 
when it is, you shall live in one of my rooms 
until I can make a house for you." Then he 
was taken ashore and brought to a tall, iron 
house. " This house is regulated," said the gov- 
ernor ; " there is no fire allowed to burn in it." 
In one part of this house, weapons of the gov- 
ernment were hung up ; there was a passage, 
and on the other side of the passage, fifty crim- 
inals were chained together, two and two, by 
the ankles. The windows were out of reach; 
and there was only one door, which was opened 
at six in the morning and shut again at six at 

Sorrows of Laupepa 83 

night. All day he had his liberty, went to the 
Baptist Mission, and walked about viewing the 
negroes, who were " like the sand on the sea- 
shore " for number. At six they were called 
into the house and shut in for the night without 
beds or lights. "Although they gave me no 
light," said he, with a smile, " I could see I was 
in a prison." Good food was given him : bis- 
cuits, "tea made with warm water," beef, etc.; 
all excellent. Once, in their walks, they spied 
a breadfruit tree bearing in the garden of an 
English merchant, ran back to the prison to get 
a shilling, and came and offered to purchase. 
" I am not going to sell breadfruit to you 
people," said the merchant; "come and take 
what you like." Here Malietoa interrupted 
himself to say it was the only tree bearing in 
the Cameroons. "The governor had none, or 
he would have given it to me." On the pas- 
sage from the Cameroons to Germany, he had 
great delight to see the cliffs of England. 
He saw " the rocks shining in the sun, and 
three hours later was surprised to find them 
sunk in the heavens." He saw also wharves 
and immense buildings ; perhaps Dover and 

84 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

its castle. In Hamburg, after breakfast, Mr. 
Weber, who had now finally " ceased from troub- 
ling " Samoa, came on board, and carried him 
ashore " suitably " in a steam launch to "a large 
house of the government," where he stayed till 
noon. At noon Weber told him he was going 
to " the place where ships are anchored that go 
to Samoa," and led him to "a very magnificent 
house, with carriages inside and a wonderful roof 
of glass " ; to wit, the railway station. They were 
benighted on the train, and then went in " some- 
thing with a house, drawn by horses, which had 
windows and many decks " ; plainly an omnibus. 
Here (at Bremen or Bremerhaven, I believe) 
they stayed some while in "a house of five 
hundred rooms " ; then were got on board the 
Niirnberg (as they understood) for Samoa, 
anchored in England on a Sunday, were joined 
en route by the famous Dr. Knappe, passed 
through "a narrow passage where they went 
very slow and which was just like a river," 
and beheld with exhilarated curiosity that Red 
Sea of which they had learned so much in 
their Bibles. At last, "at the hour when the 
fires burn red," they came to a place where 

Sorrows of Laupepa 85 

was a German man-of-war. Laupepa was 
called, with one of the boys, on deck, when 
he found a German officer awaiting him, and 
a steam launch alongside, and was told he must 
now leave his brother and go elsewhere. " I 
cannot go like this," he cried. "You must 
let me see my brother and the other old 
men " — a term of courtesy. Knappe, who 
seems always to have been good-natured, re- 
vised his orders, and consented not only to an 
interview, but to allow Moli to continue to accom- 
pany the king. So these two were carried to 
the man-of-war, and sailed many a day, still 
supposing themselves bound for Samoa; and 
lo ! she came to a country the like of which 
they had never dreamed of, and cast anchor in 
the great lagoon of Jaluit ; and upon that nar- 
row land the exiles were set on shore. This 
was the part of his captivity on which he looked 
back with the most bitterness. It was the last, 
for one thing, and he was worn down with the 
long suspense, and terror, and deception. He 
could not bear the brackish water ; and though 
" the Germans were still good to him, and gave 
him beef and biscuit and tea," he suffered from 
the lack of vegetable food. 

86 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

Such is the narrative of this simple exile. 
I have not sought to correct it by extraneous 
testimony. It is not so much the facts that are 
historical, as the man's attitude. No one could 
hear this tale as he originally told it in my 
hearing — I think none can read it as here 
condensed and unadorned — without admiring 
the fairness and simplicity of the Samoan ; and 
wondering at the want of heart — or want of 
humour — in so many successive civilised Ger- 
mans, that they should have continued to 
surround this infant with the secrecy of state. 

Brandeis 87 


September '87 to August '88 

So Tamasese was on the throne, and Brandeis 
behind it; and I have now to deal with their 
brief and luckless reign. That it was the reign 
of Brandeis needs not to be argued : the policy 
is throughout that of an able, over-hasty white, 
with eyes and ideas. But it should be borne 
in mind that he had a double task, and must 
first lead his sovereign, before he could begin 
to drive their common subjects. Meanwhile, 
he himself was exposed (if all tales be true) 
to much dictation and interference, and to some 
"cumbrous aid," from the consulate and the 
firm. And to one of these aids, the suppres- 
sion of the municipality, I am inclined to 
attribute his ultimate failure. 

The white enemies of the new regimen wore 
of two classes. In the first stood Moors and 

88 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

the employes of MacArthur, the two chief 
rivals of the firm, who saw with jealousy a 
clerk (or a so-called clerk) of their competitors 
advanced to the chief power. The second 
class, that of the officials, numbered at first ex- 
actly one. Wilson, the English acting consul, 
is understood to have held strict orders to help 
Germany. Commander Leary of the Adams, 
the American captain, when he arrived, on 
the 1 6th October, and for some time after, 
seemed devoted to the German interest, and 
spent his days with a German officer, Captain 
Von Widersheim, who was deservedly beloved 
by all who knew him. There remains the 
American consul-general, Harold Marsh Sewall, 
a young man of high spirit and a generous 
disposition. He had obeyed the orders of his 
government with a grudge ; and looked back 
on his past action with regret almost to be 
called repentance. From the moment of the 
declaration of war against Laupepa, we find 
him standing forth in bold, consistent, and 
sometimes rather captious opposition, stirring 
up his government at home with clear and 
forcible despatches, and on the spot grasping 

Brandeis 89 

at every opportunity to thrust a stick into the 
German wheels. For some while, he and Moors 
fought their difficult battle in conjunction ; in 
the course of which, first one, and then the 
other, paid a visit home to reason with the 
authorities at Washington ; and during the con- 
sul's absence, there was found an American 
clerk in Apia, William Blacklock, to perform 
the duties of the office with remarkable ability 
and courage. The three names just brought 
together, Sewall, Moors, and Blacklock, make 
the head and front of the opposition ; if Tama- 
sese fell, if Brandeis was driven forth, if the 
treaty of Berlin was signed, theirs is the blame 
or the credit. 

To understand the feelings of self-reproach 
and bitterness with which Sewall took the field, 
the reader must see Laupepa's letter of fare- 
well to the consuls of England and America. 
It is singular that this far from brilliant or 
dignified monarch, writing in the forest, in 
heaviness of spirit and under pressure for 
time, should have left behind him not only 
one, but two remarkable and most effective 
documents. The farewell to his people was 

90 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

touching; the farewell to the consuls, for a 
man of the character of Sewall, must have 
cut like a whip. " When the chief Tamasese 
and others first moved the present troubles," 
he wrote, " it was my wish to punish them and 
put an end to the rebellion ; but I yielded to 
the advice of the British and American consuls. 
Assistance and protection was repeatedly prom- 
ised to me and my government, if I abstained 
from bringing war upon my country. Relying 
upon these promises, I did not put down the 
rebellion. Now I find that war has been made 
upon me by the Emperor of Germany, and 
Tamasese has been proclaimed king of Samoa. 
I desire to remind you of the promises so fre- 
quently made by your government, and trust 
that you will so far redeem them as to cause 
the lives and liberties of my chiefs and people 
to be respected." 

Sewall's immediate adversary was, of course, 
Becker. I have formed an opinion of this 
gentleman, largely from his printed despatches, 
which I am at a loss to put in words. Astute, 
ingenious, capable, at moments almost witty 
with a kind of glacial wit in action, he dis- 

Brandezs 91 

played in the course of this affair every descrip* 
tion of capacity but that which is alone useful 
and which springs from a knowledge of men's 
natures. It chanced that one of Sewall's early 
moves played into his hands, and he was swift 
to seize and to improve the advantage. The 
neutral territory and the tripartite municipality 
of Apia were eyesores to the German consulate 
and Brandeis. By landing Tamasese's two or 
three hundred warriors at Mulinuu, as Becker 
himself owns, they had infringed the treaties, 
and Sewall entered protest twice. There were 
two ways of escaping this dilemma : one was 
to withdraw the warriors ; the other, by some 
hocus-pocus, to abrogate the neutrality. And 
the second had subsidiary advantages : it would 
restore the taxes of the richest district in the 
islands to the Samoan king ; and it would 
enable them to substitute over the royal seat 
the flag of Germany for the new flag of Tama- 
sese. It is true (and it was the subject of much 
remark) that these two could hardly be distin- 
guished by the naked eye ; but their effects 
were different. To seat the puppet king on 
German land and under German colours, so 

92 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

that any rebellion was constructive war on 
Germany, was a trick apparently invented by 
Becker, and which we shall find was repeated 
and persevered in till the end. 

Otto Martin was at this time magistrate in 
the municipality. The post was held in turn 
by the three nationalities; Martin had served 
far beyond his term, and should have been 
succeeded months before by an American. To 
make the change it was necessary to hold a 
meeting of the municipal board, consisting of 
the three consuls, each backed by an assessor. 
And for some time these meetings had been 
evaded or refused by the German consul. As 
long as it was agreed to continue Martin, 
Becker had attended regularly; as soon as 
Sewall indicated a wish for his removal, Becker 
tacitly suspended the municipality by refusing 
to appear. This policy was now the more 
necessary; for if the whole existence of the 
municipality were a check on the freedom of 
the new government, it was plainly less so 
when the power to enforce and punish lay in 
German hands. For some while back the 
Malietoa flag had been flown on the municipal 

Brandeis 93 

6uilding : Becker denies this ; I am sorry; my 
information obliges me to suppose he is in 
error. Sewall, with post mortem loyalty to the 
past, insisted that this flag should be continued. 
And Becker immediately made his point. He 
declared, justly enough, that the proposal was 
hostile, and argued it was impossible he should 
attend a meeting under a flag with which his 
sovereign was at war. Upon one occasion of 
urgency, he was invited to meet the two other 
consuls at the British consulate ; even this he 
refused ; and for four months the municipality 
slumbered, Martin still in office. In the month 
of October, in consequence, the British and 
American rate-payers announced they would 
refuse to pay. Becker doubtless rubbed his 
hands. On Saturday, the 10th, the chief 
Tamaseu, a Malietoa man of substance and 
good character, was arrested on a charge of 
theft believed to be vexatious, and cast by 
Martin into the municipal prison. He sent 
to Moors, who was his tenant and owed him 
money at the time, for bail. Moors applied to 
Sewall, ranking consul. After some search, 
Martin was found and refused to consider bail 

94 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

before the Monday morning. Whereupon 
Sewall demanded the keys from the jailer, 
accepted Moors's verbal recognisances, and set 
Tamaseu free. 

Things were now at a deadlock ; and Becker 
astonished every one by agreeing to a meeting 
on the 14th. It seems he knew what to expect. 
Writing on the 1 3th at least, he prophesies that 
the meeting will be held in vain, that the 
municipality must lapse, and the government of 
Tamasese step in. On the 14th, Sewall left 
his consulate in time, and walked some part of 
the way to the place of meeting in company 
with Wilson, the English pro-consul. But he 
had forgotten a paper and in an evil hour 
returned for it alone. Wilson arrived without 
him, and Becker broke up the meeting for 
want of a quorum. There was some unedi- 
fying disputation as to whether he had waited 
ten or twenty minutes, whether he had been 
officially or unofficially informed by Wilson that 
Sewall was on the way, whether the statement 
had been made to himself or to Weber 1 in 
answer to a question, and whether he had 

1 Brother and successor of Theodor. 

Brandeis 95 

heard Wilson's answer or only Weber's ques- 
tion : all otiose ; if he heard the question, he 
was bound to have waited for the answer; if 
he heard it not, he should have put it him- 
self; and it was the manifest truth that he 
rejoiced in his occasion. " Sir," he wrote to 
Sewall, " I have the honour to inform you that, 
to my regret, I am obliged to consider the 
municipal government to be provisionally in 
abeyance since you have withdrawn your con- 
sent to the continuation of Mr. Martin in his 
position as magistrate, and since you have 
refused to take part in the meeting of the 
municipal board agreed to for the purpose of 
electing a magistrate. The government of the 
town and district of the municipality rests, as 
long as the municipality is in abeyance, with 
the Samoan government. The Samoan govern- 
ment has taken over the administration, and 
has applied to the commander of the imperial 
German squadron for assistance in the preser- 
vation of good order." This letter was not 
delivered until 4 p.m. By three sailors had 
been landed. Already German colours flew 
over Tamasese's headquarters at Mulinuu, and 

96 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

German guards had occupied the hospital, the 
German consulate, and the municipal jail and 
courthouse, where they stood to arms under the 
flag of Tamasese. The same day Sewall wrote 
to protest. Receiving no reply, he issued on 
the morrow a proclamation bidding all Amer- 
icans look to himself alone. On the 26th, he 
wrote again to Becker, and on the 27th received 
this genial reply : " Sir, your high favour of the 
26th of this month, I give myself the honour of 
acknowledging. At the same time I acknowl- 
edge the receipt of your high favour of the 
14th October in reply to my communication of 
the same date, which contained the information 
of the suspension of the arrangements for the 
municipal government." There the correspond- 
ence ceased. And on the 18th January came 
the last step of this irritating intrigue, when 
Tamasese appointed a judge — and the judge 
proved to be Martin. 

Thus was the adventure of the Castle Mu- 
nicipal achieved by Sir Becker the chivalrous. 
The taxes of Apia, the jail, the police, all 
passed into the hands of Tamasese-Brandeis ; 
a German was secured upon the bench; and 

Brandeis 97 

the German flag might wave over her puppet 
unquestioned. But there is a law of human 
nature which diplomatists should be taught at 
school, and it seems they are not; that men 
can tolerate bare injustice, but not the combi- 
nation of injustice and subterfuge. Hence the 
chequered career of the thimble-rigger. Had 
the municipality been seized by open force, 
there might have been complaint, it would not 
have aroused the same lasting grudge. 

This grudge was an ill gift to bring to Bran- 
deis, who had trouble enough in front of him 
without. He was an alien, he was supported 
by the guns of alien war-ships, and he had 
come to do an alien's work, highly needful for 
Samoa, but essentially unpopular with all 
Samoans. The law to be enforced, causes of 
dispute between white and brown to be elimi- 
nated, taxes to be raised, a central power 
created, the country opened up, the native race 
taught industry : all these were detestable to 
the natives, and to all of these he must set his 
hand. The more I learn of his brief term of 
rule, the more I learn to admire him, and to 
wish we had his like. 

g8 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

In the face of bitter native opposition he got 
some roads accomplished. He set up beacons. 
The taxes he enforced with necessary vigour. 
By the 6th of January, Aua and Fangatonga, 
districts in Tutuila, having made a difficulty, 
Brandeis is down at the island in a schooner, 
with the Adler at his heels, seizes the chief 
Maunga, fines the recalcitrant districts in three 
hundred dollars for expenses, and orders all 
to be in by April 20th, which if it is not, " not 
one thing will be done," he proclaimed, "but 
war declared against you, and the principal 
chiefs taken to a distant island." He forbade 
mortgages of copra, a frequent source of trick- 
ery and quarrel ; and to clear off those already 
contracted, passed a severe but salutary law. 
Each individual or family was first to pay off 
its own obligation ; that settled, the free man 
was to pay for the indebted village, the free 
village for the indebted province, and one 
island for another. Samoa, he declared, should 
be free of debt within a year. Had he given it 
three years, and gone more gently, I believe it 
might have been accomplished. To make it 
the more possible, he sought to interdict the 

Brandeis 99 

natives from buying cotton stuffs and to oblige 
them to dress (at least for the time) in their 
own tapa. He laid the beginnings of a royal 
territorial army. The first draft was in his 
hands drilling. But it was not so much on 
drill that he depended ; it was his hope to 
kindle in these men an esprit de corps, which 
should weaken the old local jealousies and 
bonds, and found a central or national party 
in the islands. Looking far before, and with 
a wisdom beyond that of many merchants, he 
had condemned the single dependence placed 
on copra for the national livelihood. His 
recruits, even as they drilled, were taught to 
plant cacao. Each, his term of active service 
finished, should return to his own land and 
plant and cultivate a stipulated area. Thus, 
as the young men continued to pass through 
the army, habits of discipline and industry, 
a central sentiment, the principles of the new 
culture, and actual gardens of cacao, should 
be concurrently spread over the face of the 

Tamascse received, including his household 
expenses, i960 dollars a year; Brandeis, 2400. 

ioo Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

All such disproportions are regrettable, but this 
is not extreme : we have seen horses of a differ- 
ent colour since then. And the Tamaseseites, 
with true Samoan ostentation, offered to in- 
crease the salary of their white premier: an 
offer he had the wisdom and good feeling to 
refuse. A European chief of police received 
twelve hundred. There were eight head judges, 
one to each province, and appeal lay from the 
district judge to the provincial, thence to Mu- 
linuu. From all salaries (I gather) a small 
monthly guarantee was withheld. The army 
was to cost from three to four thousand, Apia 
(many whites refusing to pay taxes since the 
suppression of the municipality) might cost 
three thousand more : Sir Becker's high feat 
of arms coming expensive (it will be noticed) 
even in money. The whole outlay was esti- 
mated at twenty-seven thousand ; and the rev- 
enue forty thousand : a sum Samoa is well able 
to pay. 

Such were the arrangements and some of the 
ideas of this strong, ardent, and sanguine man. 
Of criticisms upon his conduct, beyond the gen- 
eral consent that he was rather harsh and in too 

Brandeis 101 

great a hurry, few are articulate. The native 
paper of complaints was particularly childish. 
Out of twenty-three counts, the first two refer 
to the private character of Brandeis and Tama- 
sese. Three complain that Samoan officials 
were kept in the dark as to the finances ; one, 
of the tapa law ; one, of the direct appointment 
of chiefs by Tamasese-Brandeis, the sort of 
mistake into which Europeans in the South Seas 
fall so readily; one, of the enforced labour of 
chiefs ; one, of the taxes; and one, of the roads. 
This I may give in full from the very lame 
translation in the American white book. " The 
roads that were made were called the Govern- 
ment Roads ; they were six fathoms wide. Their 
making caused much damage to Samoa's lands 
and what was planted on it. The Samoans 
cried on account of their lands which were 
taken high-handedly and abused. They again 
cried on account of the loss of what they had 
planted, which was now thrown away in a high- 
handed way, without any regard being shown 
or question asked of the owner of the land, or 
any compensation offered for the damage done. 
This was different with foreigners' land ; in 

102 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

their case permission was first asked to make 
the roads ; the foreigners were paid for any 
destruction made." The sting of this count 
was, I fancy, in the last clause. No less than 
six articles complain of the administration of 
the law ; and I believe that was never satis- 
factory. Brandeis told me himself he was never 
yet satisfied with any native judge. And men 
say (and it seems to fit in well with his hasty 
and eager character) that he would legislate by 
word of mouth ; sometimes forget what he had 
said ; and on the same question arising in an- 
other province, decide it perhaps otherwise. I 
gather, on the whole, our artillery captain was 
not great in law. Two articles refer to a mat- 
ter I must deal with more at length, and rather 
from the point of view of the white residents. 

The common charge against Brandeis was 
that of favouring the German firm. Coming as 
he did, this was inevitable. Weber had bought 
Steinberger with hard cash; that was matter 
of history. The present government he did not 
even require to buy, having founded it by his 
intrigues, and introduced the premier to Samoa 
through the doors of his own office. And the 

Brandeis 103 

effect of the initial blunder was kept alive by 
the chatter of the clerks in barrooms, boasting 
themselves of the new government and prophe- 
sying annihilation to all rivals. The time of 
raising a tax is the harvest of the merchant; 
it is the time when copra will be made, and 
must be sold ; and the intention of the German 
firm, first in the time of Steinberger, and again 
in April and May, 1888, with Brandeis, was to 
seize and handle the whole operation. Their 
chief rivals were the Messrs. MacArthur ; and 
it seems beyond question that provincial gov- 
ernors more than once issued orders forbidding 
Samoans to take money from "the New Zea- 
land firm." These, when they were brought to 
his notice, Brandeis disowned, and he is entitled 
to be heard. No man can live long in Samoa 
and not have his honesty impugned. But the 
accusations against Brandeis's veracity are 
both few and obscure. I believe he was as 
straight as his sword. The governors doubt- 
less issued these orders, but there were plenty 
besides Brandeis to suggest them. Every wan- 
dering clerk from the; firm's office, every planta- 
tion manager, would be dinning the same story 

104 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

in the native ear. And here again the initial 
blunder hung about the neck of Brandeis, a 
ton's weight. The natives, as well as the 
whites, had seen their premier masquerading 
on a stool in the office ; in the eyes of the na- 
tives, as well as in those of the whites, he must 
always have retained the mark of servitude 
from that ill-judged passage; and they would 
be inclined to look behind and above him, to 
the great house of Misi Ueba. The government 
was like a vista of puppets. People did not 
trouble with Tamasese, if they got speech with 
Brandeis; in the same way, they might not 
always trouble to ask Brandeis, if they had a 
hint direct from Misi Ueba. In only one case, 
though it seems to have had many develop- 
ments, do I find the premier personally com- 
mitted. The MacArthurs claimed the copra of 
Fasitotai on a district mortgage of three hun- 
dred dollars. The German firm accepted a 
mortgage of the whole province of Aana, 
claimed the copra of Fasitotai as that of a part 
of Aana, and were supported by the govern- 
ment. Here Brandeis was false to his own 
principle, that personal and village debts should 

Brandeis 1 05 

come before provincial. But the case occurred 
before the promulgation of the law, and was 
as a matter of fact the cause of it ; so the 
most we can say is that he changed his mind, 
and changed it for the better. If the history 
of his government be considered — how it origi- 
nated in an intrigue between the firm and 
the consulate, and was (for the firm's sake 
alone) supported by the consulate with foreign 
bayonets — the existence of the least doubt on 
the man's action must seem marvellous. We 
should have looked to find him playing openly 
and wholly into their hands ; that he did not, 
implies great independence and much secret 
friction ; and I believe (if the truth were 
known) the firm would be found to have 
been disgusted with the stubbornness of its 
intended tool, and Brandeis often impatient of 
the demands of his creators. 

But I may seem to exaggerate the degree of 
white opposition. And it is true that before 
fate overtook the Brandeis government, it 
appeared to enjoy the fruits of victory in Apia ; 
and one dissident, the unconquerable Moors, 
stood out alone to refuse his taxes. But the 

106 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

victory was in appearance only ; the opposition 
was latent ; it found vent in talk, and thus re- 
acted on the natives ; upon the least excuse, it 
was ready to flame forth again. And this is 
the more singular because some were far from 
out of sympathy with the native policy pursued. 
When I met Captain Brandeis, he was amazed 
at my attitude. " Whom did you find in Apia 
to tell you so much good of me ? " he asked. I 
named one of my informants. " He ? " he cried. 
" If he thought all that, why did he not help 
me ? " I told him as well as I was able. The 
man was a merchant. He beheld in the gov- 
ernment of Brandeis a government created by 
and for the firm who were his rivals. If Bran- 
deis were minded to deal fairly, where was the 
probability that he would be allowed ? If 
Brandeis insisted and were strong enough to 
prevail, what guarantee that, as soon as the 
government were fairly accepted, Brandeis 
might not be removed ? Here was the attitude 
of the hour ; and I am glad to find it clearly set 
forth in a despatch of Sewall's, June 18th, 1888, 
when he commends the law against mortgages, 
and goes on : " Whether the author of this law 

Brandeis 107 

will carry out the good intentions which he pro- 
fesses — whether he will be allowed to do so, if 
he desires, against the opposition of those who 
placed him in power and protect him in the 
possession of it — may well be doubted." 
Brandeis had come to Apia in the firm's liv- 
ery. Even while he promised neutrality in 
commerce, the clerks were prating a different 
story in the barrooms; and the late high feat 
of the knight-errant, Becker, had killed all con- 
fidence in Germans at the root. By these three 
impolicies, the German adventure in Samoa was 

I imply that the handful of whites were the 
true obstacle, not the thousands of malcontent 
Samoans ; for had the whites frankly accepted 
Brandeis, the path of Germany was clear, and 
the end of their policy, however troublesome 
might be its course, was obvious. But this is 
not to say that the natives were content. In a 
sense, indeed, their opposition was continuous. 
There will always be opposition in Samoa when 
taxes are imposed ; and the deportation of Ma- 
lietoa stuck in men's throats. Tuiatua Mataafa 
refused to act under the new government from 

(oS Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

the beginning, and Tamasese usurped his place 
and title. As early as February, I find him 
signing himself "Tuiaana Tuiatua Tamasese," 
the first step on a dangerous path. Asi, like 
Mataafa, disclaimed his chiefship and declared 
himself a private person ; but he was more 
rudely dealt with. German sailors surrounded 
his house in the night, burst in, and dragged 
the women out of the mosquito nets — an of- 
fence against Samoan manners. No Asi was 
to be found ; but at last they were shown his 
fishing-lights on the reef, rowed out, took him 
as he was, and carried him on board a man-of- 
war, where he was detained some while be- 
tween-decks. At last, January 16th, after a 
farewell interview over the ship's side with his 
wife, he was discharged into a ketch, and, along 
with two other chiefs, Maunga and Tuiletu- 
funga, deported to the Marshalls. The blow 
struck fear upon all sides. Le Mamea (a 
very able chief) was secretly among the mal- 
contents. His family and followers murmured 
at his weakness ; but he continued, throughout 
the duration of the government, to serve Bran- 
deis with trembling. A circus coming to Apia, 

Brandeis 109 

he seized at the pretext for escape, and asked 
leave to accept an engagement in the company. 
" I will not allow you to make a monkey of 
yourself," said Brandeis ; and the phrase had a 
success throughout the' islands, pungent expres- 
sions being so much admired by the natives 
that they cannot refrain from repeating them, 
even when they have been levelled at them- 
selves. The assumption of the Atua name 
spread discontent in that province ; many 
chiefs from thence were convicted of disaffec- 
tion, and condemned to labour with their hands 
upon the roads — a great shock to the Samoan 
sense of the becoming, which was rendered the 
more sensible by the death of one of the num- 
ber at his task. Mataafa was involved in the 
same trouble. His disaffected speech at a 
meeting of Atua chiefs was betrayed by the 
girls that made the kava, and the man of the 
future was called to Apia on safe conduct, but, 
after an interview, suffered to return to his lair. 
The peculiarly tender treatment of Mataafa 
must be explained by his relationship to Ta- 
masese. Laupepa was of Malietoa blood. The 
hereditary retainers of the Tupua would see 

no Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

him exiled even with some complacency. But 
Mataafa was Tupua himself; and Tupua men 
would probably have murmured, and would 
perhaps have mutinied, had he been harshly 
dealt with. 

The native opposition, I say, was in a sense 
continuous. And it kept continuously growing. 
The sphere of Brandeis was limited to Mulinuu 
and the north central quarters of Upolu — practi- 
cally what is shown upon the map in this volume. 
There the taxes were expanded ; in the out-dis- 
tricts, men paid their money and saw no return. 
Here the eye and hand of the dictator were 
ready to correct the scales of justice ; in the 
out-districts, all things lay at the mercy of the 
native magistrates, and their oppressions in- 
creased with the course of time and the experi- 
ence of impunity. In the spring of the year, 
a very intelligent observer had occasion to visit 
many places in the island of Savaii. " Our lives 
are not worth living," was the burthen of the 
popular complaint. " We are groaning under 
the oppression of these men. We would rather 
die than continue to endure it." On his return 
to Apia, he made haste to communicate his im- 

Brandeis 1 1 1 

pressions to Brandeis. Brandeis replied in an 
epigram : " Where there has been anarchy in a 
country, there must be oppression for a time." 
But unfortunately the terms of the epigram 
may be reversed; and personal supervision 
would have been more in season than wit. 
The same observer who conveyed to him this 
warning thinks that, if Brandeis had himself 
visited the districts and inquired into com- 
plaints, the blow might yet have been averted 
and the government saved. At last, upon a 
certain unconstitutional act of Tamasese, the 
discontent took life and fire. The act was of 
his own conception ; the dull dog was ambi- 
tious. Brandeis declares he would not be dis- 
suaded ; perhaps his adviser did not seriously 
try, perhaps did not dream that in that welter 
of contradictions, the Samoan constitution, any 
one point would be considered sacred. I have 
told how Tamasese assumed the title of Tuiatua. 
In August, 1888, a year after his installation, he 
took a more formidable step and assumed that 
of Malietoa. This name, as I have said, is of 
peculiar honour ; it had been given to, it had 
never been taken from, the exiled Laupepa; 

1 1 2 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

those in whose grant it lay, stood punctilious 
upon their rights ; and Tamasese, as the repre- 
sentative of their natural opponents, the Tupua 
line, was the last who should have had it. And 
there was yet more, though I almost despair to 
make it thinkable by Europeans. Certain old 
mats are handed down, and set huge store by ; 
they may be compared to coats of arms or heir- 
looms among ourselves ; and to the horror of 
more than one-half of Samoa, Tamasese, the 
head of the Tupua, began collecting Malietoa 
mats. It was felt that the cup was full, and 
men began to prepare secretly for rebellion. 
The history of the month of August is unknown 
to whites ; it passed altogether in the covert of 
the woods or in the stealthy councils of Samoans. 
One ominous sign was to be noted ; arms and 
ammunition began to be purchased or inquired 
about ; and the more wary traders ordered fresh 
consignments of material of war. But the rest 
was silence ; the government slept in security ; 
and Brandeis was summoned at last from a 
public dinner, to find rebellion organised, the 
woods behind Apia full of insurgents, and a 
plan prepared, and in the very article of execu- 

Brandeis 113 

tion, to surprise and seize Mulinuu. The 
timely discovery averted all; and the leaders 
hastily withdrew towards the south side of the 
island, leaving in the bush a rear-guard under 
a young man of the name of Saifaleupolu. Ac- 
cording to some accounts, it scarce numbered 
forty; the leader was no great chief, but a 
handsome, industrious lad who seems to have 
been much beloved. And upon this obstacle 
Brandeis fell. It is the man's fault to be too 
impatient of results ; his public intention to 
free Samoa of all debt within the year, depicts 
him; and instead of continuing to temporise 
and let his enemies weary and disperse, he 
judged it politic to strike a blow. He struck 
it, with what seemed to be success, and the 
sound of it roused Samoa to rebellion. 

About two in the morning of August 31st, 
Apia was wakened by men marching. Day 
came, and Brandeis and his war-party were al- 
ready long disappeared in the woods. All morn- 
ing belated Tamaseseites were still to be seen 
running with their guns. All morning shots 
were listened for in vain ; but over the top of 
the forest, far up the mountain, smoke was for 

1 14 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

some time observed to hang. About ten a dead 
man was carried in, lashed under a pole like a 
dead pig, his rosary (for he was a Catholic) hang- 
ing nearly to the ground. Next came a young 
fellow wounded, sitting in a rope swung from a 
pole ; two fellows bearing him, two running be- 
hind for a relief. At last about eleven, three 
or four heavy volleys and a great shouting were 
heard from the bush town Tanungamanono; the 
affair was over, the victorious force, on the 
march back, was there celebrating its victory 
by the way. Presently after it marched through 
Apia, five or six hundred strong, in tolerable 
order and strutting with the ludicrous assump- 
tion of the triumphant islander. Women who 
had been buying bread ran and gave them 
loaves. At the tail end came Brandeis himself, 
smoking a cigar, deadly pale, and with perhaps 
an increase of his usual nervous manner. One 
spoke to him by the way. He expressed his 
sorrow the action had been forced on him. 
" Poor people, it's all the worse for them ! " he 
said. " It'll have to be done another way now." 
And it was supposed by his hearer that he re- 
ferred to intervention from the German war- 

Brandeis 115 

ships. He meant, he said, to put a stop to 
head-hunting ; his men had taken two that day, 
he added, but he had not suffered them to bring 
them in, and they had been left in Tanunga- 
manono. Thither my informant rode, was at- 
tracted by the sound of wailing, and saw in a 
house the two heads washed and combed, and 
the sister of one of the dead lamenting in the 
island fashion and kissing the cold face. Soon 
after, a small grave was dug, the heads were 
buried in a beef box, and the pastor read the 
service. The body of Saifaleupolu himself was 
recovered unmutilated, brought down from the 
forest, and buried behind Apia. 

The same afternoon, the men of Vaimaunga 
were ordered to report in Mulinuu, where Ta- 
masese's flag was half-masted for the death of 
a chief in the skirmish. Vaimaunga is that dis- 
trict of Tuamasanga, which includes the bay and 
the foothills behind Apia ; and both province 
and district are strong Malietoa. Not one man, 
it is said, obeyed the summons. Night came, 
and the town lay in unusual silence ; no one 
abroad ; the blinds down around the native 
houses, the men within sleeping on their arms ; 

1 1 6 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

the old women keeping watch in pairs. And 
in the course of the two following days all 
Vaimaunga was gone into the bush, the very 
jailer setting free his prisoners and joining 
them in their escape. Hear the words of the 
chiefs in the 23d article of their complaint : 
" Some of the chiefs fled to the bush from fear 
of being reported, fear of German men-of-war, 
constantly being accused, etc., and Brandeis 
commanded that they were to be shot on sight. 
This act was carried out by Brandeis on the 31st 
day of August, 1888. After this we evaded these 
laws ; we could not stand them ; our patience 
was worn out with the constant wickedness of 
Tamasese and Brandeis We were tired out 
and could stand no longer the acts of these two 

So through an ill-timed skirmish, two severed 
heads, and a dead body, the rule of Brandeis 
came to a sudden end. We shall see him a 
while longer fighting for existence in a losing 
battle ; but his government, take it for all in all, 
the most promising that has ever been in these 
unlucky islands, was from that hour a piece of 

Battle of Matautu 117 



September 1888 

The revolution had all the character of a 
popular movement. Many of the high chiefs 
were detained in Mulinuu ; the commons trooped 
to the bush under inferior leaders. A camp was 
chosen near Faleula, threatening Mulinuu, well 
placed for the arrival of recruits and close to a 
German plantation from which the force could 
be subsisted. Manono came, all Tuamasanga, 
much of Savaii, and part of Aana, Tamasese's 
own government and titular seat. Both sides 
were arming. It was a brave day for the trader, 
though not so brave as some that followed, 
when a single cartridge is said to have been sold 
for twelve cents currency — between nine and 
ten cents gold. Yet even among the traders 
a strong party feeling reigned, and it was the 
common practice to ask a purchaser upon 
which side he meant to fight 

1 1 8 Eight Years of Troiiblc in Samoa 

On September 5th, Brandeis published a 
letter : " To the chiefs of Tuamasanga, Manono, 
and Faasaleleanga in the Bush : Chiefs, by 
authority of his majesty Tamasese, the king 
of Samoa, I make known to you all that the 
German man-of-war is about to go together 
with a Samoan fleet for the purpose of burning 
Manono. After this island is all burnt, 'tis 
good if the people return to Manono and live 
quiet. To the people of Faasaleleanga I say, 
return to your houses and stop there. The 
same to those belonging to Tuamasanga. If 
you obey this instruction, then you will all be 
forgiven ; if you do not obey, then all your 
villages will be burnt like Manono. These 
instructions are made in truth in the sight of 
God in the Heaven." The same morning, 
accordingly, the Adlcr steamed out of the bay 
with a force of Tamasese warriors and some 
native boats in tow, the Samoan fleet in ques- 
tion. Manono was shelled ; the Tamasese war- 
riors, under the conduct of a Manono traitor, 
who paid before many days the forfeit of his 
blood, landed and did some damage, but were 
driven away by the sight of a force returning 

Battle of Matautu 119 

from the mainland ; no one was hurt, for the 
women and children, who alone remained on 
the island, found a refuge in the bush ; and the 
Adler and her acolytes returned the same even- 
ing. The letter had been energetic ; the per- 
formance fell below the programme. The 
demonstration annoyed and yet re-assured the 
insurgents, and it fully disclosed to the Germans 
a new enemy. 

Captain von Widersheim had been relieved. 
His successor, Captain Fritze, was an officer of 
a different stamp. I have nothing to say of 
him but good ; he seems to have obeyed the 
consul's requisitions with secret distaste; his 
despatches were of admirable candour ; but 
his habits were retired, he spoke little English, 
and was far indeed from inheriting von Wider- 
sheim's close relations with Commander Leary. 
It is believed by Germans that the American 
officer resented what he took to be neglect. 
I mention this, not because I believe it to 
depict Commander Leary, but because it is 
typical of a prevailing infirmity among Ger- 
mans in Samoa. Touchy themselves, they 
read all history in the light of personal affronts 

120 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

and tiffs ; and I find this weakness indicated 
by the big thumb of Bismarck, when he places 
"sensitiveness to small disrespects — cmpfuiJ- 
lidikeit ueber mangel an respect" among the 
causes of the wild career of Knappe. What- 
ever the cause, at least, the natives had no 
sooner taken arms than Leary appeared with 
violence upon that side. As early as the 3d, 
he had sent an obscure but menacing despatch 
to Brandeis. On the 6th, he fell on Fritze 
in the matter of the Manono bombardment. 
"The revolutionists," he wrote, " had an armed 
force in the field within a few miles of this har- 
bour, when the vessels under your command 
transported the Tamasese troops to a neighbour- 
ing island with the avowed intention of making 
war on the isolated homes of the women and 
children of the enemy. Being the only other 
representative of a naval power now present 
in this harbour, for the sake of humanity I 
hereby respectfully and solemnly protest in 
the name of the United States of America 
and of the civilised world in general against 
the use of a national war-vessel for such ser- 
vices as were yesterday rendered by the Ger- 

Battle of Matautu 1 2 1 

man corvette Adler" Fritze's reply, to the 
effect that he is under the orders of the consul 
and has no right of choice, reads even humble ; 
perhaps he was not himself vain of the exploit, 
perhaps not prepared to see it thus described 
in words. From that moment Leary was in 
the front of the row. His name is diagnostic, 
but it was not required ; on every step of his 
subsequent action in Samoa Irishman is writ 
large ; over all his doings a malign spirit of 
humour presided. No malice was too small 
for him, if it were only funny. When night 
signals were made from Mulinuu, he would 
sit on his own poop and confound them with 
gratuitous rockets. He was at the pains to 
write a letter and address it to "the High 
Chief Tamasese " — a device as old at least as 
the wars of Robert Bruce — in order to bother 
the officials of the German postoffice, in whose 
hands he persisted in leaving it, although the 
address was death to them and the distribution 
of letters in Samoa formed no part of their 
profession. His great masterwork of pleas- 
antry, the Scanlon affair, must be narrated in 
its place. And he was no less bold than comi- 

122 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

cal. The Adams was not supposed to be a 
match for the Adier; there was no glory to 
be gained in beating her ; and yet I have 
heard naval officers maintain she might have 
proved a dangerous antagonist in narrow 
waters and at short range. Doubtless Leary 
thought so. He was continually daring Fritze 
to come on ; and already, in a despatch of the 
9th, I find Becker complaining of his language 
in the hearing of German officials, and how he 
had declared that, on the Adlcr again interfer- 
ing, he would interfere himself, " if he went to 
the bottom for it — und tvcnn scin ScJiiff dabei 
ZU Grunde gingc." Here is a style of opposi- 
tion which has the merit of being frank, not 
that of being agreeable. Becker was annoying, 
Leary infuriating ; there is no doubt that the 
tempers in the German consulate were highly 
ulcerated ; and if war between the two coun- 
tries did not follow, we must set down the 
praise to the forbearance of the German navy. 
This is not the last time that I shall have to 
salute the merits of that service. 

The defeat and death of Saifaleupolu and 
the burning of Manono had thus passed off 

Battle of Matautu 123 

without the least advantage to Tamasese. But 
he still held the significant position of Mulinuu, 
and Brandeis was strenuous to make it good. 
The whole peninsula was surrounded with a 
breastwork; across the isthmus it was six feet 
high and strengthened with a ditch ; and the 
beach was staked against landing. Weber's 
land claim — the same that now broods over 
the village in the form of a signboard — then 
appeared in a more military guise; the Ger- 
man flag was hoisted, and German sailors 
manned the breastwork at the isthmus — " to 
protect German property" and its trifling paren- 
thesis, the king of Samoa. Much vigilance 
reigned and, in the island fashion, much wild 
firing. And in spite of all, desertion was for 
a long time daily. The detained high chiefs 
would go to the beach on the pretext of a natu- 
ral occasion, plunge in the sea, and swimming 
across a broad, shallow bay of the lagoon, join 
the rebels on the Faleula side. Whole bodies 
of warriors, sometimes hundreds strong, de- 
parted with their arms and ammunition. On 
the 7th of September, for instance, the day 
after Leary's letter, Too and Mataia left with 

124 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

their contingents, and the whole Aana people 
returned home in a body to hold a parliament. 
Ten days later, it is true, a part of them re- 
turned to their duty; but another part branched 
off by the way and carried their services, and 
Tamasese's dear-bought guns, to Faleula. On 
the 8th, there was a defection of a different 
kind, but yet sensible. The High Chief Seu- 
manu had been still detained in Mulinuu under 
anxious observation. His people murmured at 
his absence, threatened to "take away his 
name," and had already attempted a rescue. 
The adventure was now taken in hand by his 
wife Faatulia, a woman of much sense and 
spirit and a strong partizan ; and by her con- 
trivance, Seumanu gave his guardians the slip 
and rejoined his clan at Faleula. This process 
of winnowing was of course counterbalanced by 
another of recruitment. But the harshness of 
European and military rule had made Brandeis 
detested and Tamasese unpopular with many ; 
and the force on Mulinuu is thought to have 
done little more than hold its own. Mataafa 
sympathisers set it down at about two or three 
thousand. I have no estimate from the other 

Battle of Matautu 125 

side; but Becker admits they were not strong 
enough to keep the field in the open. 

The political significance of Mulinuu was 
great, but in a military sense the position had 
defects. If it was difficult to carry, it was easy 
to blockade : and to be hemmed in on that 
narrow finger of land were an inglorious post- 
ure for the monarch of Samoa. The peninsula, 
besides, was scant of food and destitute of 
water. Pressed by these considerations, Bran- 
deis extended his lines till he had occupied the 
whole foreshore of Apia bay and the opposite 
point, Matautu. His men were thus drawn out 
along some three nautical miles of irregular 
beach, everywhere with their backs to the sea, 
and without means of communication or mutual 
support except by water. The extension led to 
fresh sorrows. The Tamasese men quartered 
themselves in the houses of the absent men of 
the Vaimaunga. Disputes arose with English 
and Americans. Leary interposed in a loud 
voice of menace. It was said the firm profited 
by the confusion to buttress up imperfect land 
claims ; I am sure the other whites would not 
be far behind the firm. Properties were fenced 

126 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

in, fences and houses were torn down, scuffles 
ensued. The German example at Mulinuu 
was followed with laughable unanimity ; wher- 
ever an Englishman or an American conceived 
himself to have a claim, he set up the emblem 
of his country ; and the beach twinkled with 
the flags of nations. 

All this, it will be observed, was going 
forward in that neutral territory, sanctified by 
treaty against the presence of armed Samoans. 
The insurgents themselves looked on in won- 
der : on the 4th, trembling to transgress against 
the great powers, they had written for a de- 
limitation of the Eleclc Sa ; and Becker, in 
conversation with the British consul, replied 
that he recognised none. So long as Tama- 
sese held the ground, this was expedient. But 
suppose Tamasese worsted, it might prove 
awkward for the stores, mills, and offices of a 
great German firm, thus bared of shelter by the 
act of their own consul. 

On the morning of the 9th September, just 
ten days after the death of Saifaleupolu, 
Mataafa, under the name of Malietoa To'oa 
Mataafa, was crowned king at Faleula. On 

Battle of Matautu 1 2 7 

the nth he wrote to the British and American 
consuls : " Gentlemen, I write this letter to you 
two very humbly and entreatingly, on account 
of this difficulty that has come before me. I 
desire to know from you two gentlemen the 
truth where the boundaries of the neutral terri- 
tory are. You will observe that I am now at 
Vaimoso [a step nearer the enemy], and I 
have stopped here until I knew what you say 
regarding the neutral territory. I wish to 
know where I can go, and where the forbidden 
ground is, for I do not wish to go on any 
neutral territory, or on any foreigner's property. 
I do not want to offend any of the great 
powers. Another thing I would like. Would 
it be possible for you three consuls to make 
Tamasese remove from German property ? for 
I am in awe of going on German land." He 
must have received a reply embodying Becker's 
renunciation of the principle, at once ; for he 
broke camp the same day, and marched east- 
ward through the bush behind Apia. 

Brandeis, expecting attack, sought to improve 
his indefensible position. He refused his cen- 
tre by the simple expedient of suppressing it 

128 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

Apia was evacuated. The two flanks, Mulinuu 
and Matautu, were still held and fortified, Muli- 
nuu (as I have said) to the isthmus, Matautu 
on a line from the bayside to the little river 
Fuisa. The centre was represented by the 
trajectory of a boat across the bay from one 
flank to another, and was held (we may say) 
by the German war-ship. Mataafa decided (1 
am assured) to make a feint on Matautu, in- 
duce Brandeis to deplete Mulinuu in support, 
and then fall upon and carry that. And there 
is no doubt in my mind that such a plan was 
bruited abroad, for nothing but a belief in it 
could explain the behaviour of Brandeis on the 
1 2th. That it was seriously entertained by 
Mataafa I stoutly disbelieve ; the German flag 
and sailors forbidding the enterprise in Muli- 
nuu. So that we may call this false intelli- 
gence the beginning and the end of Mataafa's 

The whites who sympathised with the revolt 
were uneasy and impatient. They will still 
tell you, though the dates are there to show 
them wrong, that Mataafa, even after his coro- 
nation, delayed extremely : a proof of how long 

Battle of Matautu 129 

two days may seem to last when men antici- 
pate events. On the evening of the nth, 
while the new king was already on the march, 
one of these walked into Matautu. The moon 
was bright. By the way he observed the 
native houses dark and silent; the men had 
been about a fortnight in the bush, but now 
the women and children were gone also ; at 
which he wondered. On the sea-beach, in 
the camp of the Tamaseses, the solitude was 
near as great ; he saw three or four men smok- 
ing before the British consulate, perhaps a 
dozen in all ; the rest were behind in the bush 
upon their line of forts. About the midst he 
sat down, and here a woman drew near to him. 
The moon shone in her face, and he knew her 
for a householder near by and a partizan of 
Mataafa's. She looked about her as she came, 
and asked him, trembling, What he did in the 
camp of Tamasese. He was there after news, 
he told her. She took him by the hand. "You 
must not stay here, you will get killed," she 
said. " The bush is full of our people, the 
others are watching them, fighting may begin 
at any moment, and we are both here too 

1 30 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

Jong." So they set off together; and she told 
him by the way that she had come to the hos- 
tile camp with a present of bananas, so that 
the Tamasese men might spare her house. By 
the Vaisingano they met an old man, a woman, 
and a child ; and these also she warned and 
turned back. Such is the strange part played 
by women among the scenes of Samoan war- 
fare, such were the liberties then permitted to 
the whites, that these two could pass the lines, 
talk together in Tamasese's camp on the eve 
of an engagement, and pass forth again bearing 
intelligence, like privileged spies. And before a 
few hours the white man was in direct commu- 
nication with the opposing general. The next 
morning he was accosted " about breakfast 
time " by two natives who stood leaning against 
the pickets of a public house, where the Siumu 
road strikes in at right angles to the main 
street of Apia. They told him battle was 
imminent, and begged him to pass a little way 
inland and speak with Mataafa. The road is 
at this point broad and fairly good, running 
between thick groves of cocoa-palm and bread- 
fruit. A few hundred yards along this, the 

Battle of Ma tautu 131 

white man passed a picket of four armed war- 
riors, with red handkerchiefs and their faces 
blacked in the form of a full beard, the Mata- 
afa rallying signs for the day ; a little further 
on, some fifty ; further still, a hundred ; and at 
last a quarter of a mile of them sitting by the 
wayside armed and blacked. Near by, in the 
verandah of a house on a knoll, he found Ma- 
taafa seated in white clothes, a Winchester 
across his knees. His men, he said, were still 
arriving from behind, and there was a turning 
movement in operation beyond the Fuisa, so 
that the Tamaseses should be assailed at the 
same moment from the south and east. And 
this is another indication that the attack on 
Matautu was the true attack; had any design 
on Mulinuu been in the wind, not even a Sa- 
moan general would have detached these troops 
upon the other side. While they still spoke, 
five Tamasese women were brought in with 
their hands bound ; they had been stealing 
"our" bananas. 

All morning the town was strangely deserted, 
the very children gone. A sense of expectation 
reigned, and sympathy for the attack was ex- 

132 Eight Years of Trimble in Samoa 

pressed publicly. Some men with unblacked 
faces came to Moors's store for biscuit. A 
native woman, who was there marketing, in- 
quired after the news, and, hearing that the 
battle was now near at hand, " Give them two 
more tins," said she ; " and don't put them 
down to my husband — he would growl; put 
them down to me." Between twelve and one, 
two white men walked toward Matautu, find- 
ing as they went no sign of war until they 
had passed the Vaisingano and come to the 
corner of a by-path leading to the bush. Here 
were four blackened warriors on guard, — the 
extreme left wing of the Mataafa force, where 
it touched the waters of the bay. Thence 
the line (which the white men followed) 
stretched inland among bush and marsh, facing 
the forts of the Tamaseses. The warriors 
lay as yet inactive behind trees ; but all the 
young boys and harlots of Apia toiled in the 
front upon a trench, digging with knives and 
cocoa shells ; and a continuous stream of chil- 
dren brought them water. The young sappers 
worked crouching ; from the outside only an 
occasional head or a hand emptying a shell of 

Battle of Matautu 133 

earth was visible ; and their enemies looked on 
inert from the line of the opposing forts. The 
lists were not yet prepared, the tournament 
not yet open ; and the attacking force was 
suffered to throw up works under the silent 
guns of the defence. But there is an end 
even to the delay of islanders. As the white 
men stood and looked, the Tamasese line 
thundered into a volley ; it was answered ; the 
crowd of silent workers broke forth in laughter 
and cheers ; and the battle had begun. 

Thenceforward, all day and most of the next 
night, volley followed volley ; and pounds of 
lead and pounds sterling of money continued 
to be blown into the air without cessation and 
almost without result. Colonel de Coetlogon, 
an old soldier, described the noise as deafening. 
The harbour was all struck with shots ; a man 
was knocked over on the German war-ship ; 
half Apia was under fire ; and a house was 
pierced beyond the Mulivai. All along the 
two lines of breastwork, the entrenched ene- 
mies exchanged this hail of balls ; and away on 
the east of the battle the fusillade was main- 
tained, with equal spirit, across the narrow 

134 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

barrier of the Fuisa. The whole rear of the 
Tamaseses was enfiladed by this flank fire ; and 
I have seen a house there, by the river brink, 
that was riddled with bullets like a piece of 
worm-eaten wreck-wood. At this point of the 
field befell a trait of Samoan warfare worth 
recording. Taiese (brother to Sitione already 
mentioned) shot a Tamasese man. He saw 
him fall, and, inflamed with the lust of glory, 
passed the river single-handed in that storm of 
missiles to secure the head. On the further 
bank, as was but natural, he fell himself ; he 
who had gone to take a trophy remained to 
afford one ; and the Mataafas, who had looked 
on exulting in the prospect of a triumph, saw 
themselves exposed instead to a disgrace. 
Then rose one Vingi, passed the deadly water, 
swung the body of Taiese on his back, and 
returned unscathed to his own side, the head 
saved, the corpse filled with useless bullets. 

At this rate of practice, the ammunition soon 
began to run low, and from an early hour of 
the afternoon, the Malietoa stores were visited 
by customers in search of more. An elderly 
man came leaping and cheering, his gun in one 

Battle of Matautu 135 

hand, a basket of three heads in the other. A 
fellow came shot through the forearm. " It 
doesn't hurt now," he said, as he bought his 
cartridges ; " but it will hurt to-morrow, and I 
want to fight while I can." A third followed, a 
mere boy, with the end of his nose shot off: 
" Have you any painkiller? give it me quick, so 
that I can get back to fight." On either side, 
there was the same delight in sound and smoke 
and schoolboy cheering, the same unsophisti- 
cated ardour of battle ; and the misdirected 
skirmish proceeded with a din, and was illus- 
trated with traits of bravery, that would have 
fitted a Waterloo or a Sedan. 

I have said how little I regard the alleged 
plan of battle. At least it was now all gone to 
water. The whole forces of Mataafa had 
leaked out, man by man, village by village, 
on the so-called false attack. They were all 
pounding for their lives on the front and the 
left flank of Matautu. About half-past three 
they enveloped the right flank also. The 
defenders were driven back along the beach 
road as far as the pilot station at the turn of 
the land. From this also they were dislodged, 

1 36 Eight } 'cars of Trouble in Samoa 

stubbornly fighting. One, it is told, retreated 
to his middle in the lagoon ; stood there, loading 
and firing, till he fell ; and his body was found 
on the morrow pierced with four mortal wounds. 
The Tamasese force was now enveloped on 
three sides ; it was besides almost cut off from 
the sea ; and across its whole rear and only way 
of retreat, a fire of hostile bullets crossed from 
east and west, in the midst of which men were 
surprised to observe the birds continuing to sing, 
and a cow grazed all afternoon unhurt. Doubt- 
less here was the defence in a poor way; but 
then the attack was in irons. For the Mataafas 
about the pilot house could scarcely advance 
beyond without coming under the fire of their 
own men from the other side of the Fuisa ; 
and there was not enough organisation, perhaps 
not enough authority, to divert or to arrest that 

The progress of the fight along the beach 
road was visible from Mulinuu, and Brandeis 
despatched ten boats of reinforcements. They 
crossed the harbour, paused for awhile beside 
the Adler — it was supposed for ammunition — 
and drew near the Matautu shore. The Mata- 

Battle of Matautu 137 

afa men lay close among the shoreside bushes, 
expecting their arrival; when a silly lad, in 
mere lightness of heart, fired a shot in the air. 
My native friend, Mrs. Mary Hamilton, ran out 
of her house and gave the culprit a good 
shaking : an episode in the midst of battle as 
incongruous as the grazing cow. But his sillier 
comrades followed his example ; a harmless vol- 
ley warned the boats what they might expect ; 
and they drew back and passed outside the reef 
for the passage of the Fuisa. Here they came 
under the fire of the right wing of the Mataafas 
on the river bank. The beach, raked east and 
west, appeared to them no place to land on. 
And they hung off in the deep water of the 
lagoon inside the barrier reef, feebly fusillading 
the pilot house. 

Between four and five, the Fabeata regiment 
(or folk of that village) on the Mataafa Jeft, 
which had been under arms all day, fell to be 
withdrawn for rest and food; the Siumu regi- 
ment, which should have relieved it, was not 
ready or not notified in time ; and the Tama- 
seses, gallantly profiting by the mismanage- 
ment, recovered the most of the ground in 

138 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

their proper right. It was not for long. They 
lost it again, yard by yard and from house 
to house, till the pilot station was once more 
in the hands of the Mataafas. This is the 
last definite incident in the battle. The vicis- 
situdes along the line of the entrenchments 
remain concealed from us under the cover of 
the forest. Some part of the Tamasese posi- 
tion there appears to have been carried, but 
what part, or at what hour, or whether the ad- 
vantage was maintained, I have never learned. 
Night and rain, but not silence, closed upon 
the field. The trenches were deep in mud; 
but the younger folk wrecked the houses in 
the neighbourhood, carried the roofs to the 
front, and lay under them, men and women 
together, through a long night of furious 
squalls and furious and useless volleys. Mean- 
while the older folk trailed back into Apia in 
the rain ; they talked as they went of who had 
fallen and what heads had been taken upon 
either side — they seemed to know by name the 
losses upon both ; and drenched with wet and 
broken with excitement and fatigue, they 
crawled into the verandahs of the town to 

Battle of Matautu 139 

eat and sleep. The morrow broke grey and 
drizzly, but as so often happens in the islands, 
cleared up into a glorious day. During the 
night, the majority of the defenders had taken 
advantage of the rain and darkness and stolen 
from their forts unobserved. The rallying sign 
of the Tamaseses had been a white hand- 
kerchief. With the dawn, the de Coetlogons 
from the English consulate beheld the ground 
strewn with these badges discarded ; and close 
by the house, a belated turncoat was still 
changing white for red. Matautu was lost ; 
Tamasese was confined to Mulinuu ; and by 
nine o'clock two Mataafa villages paraded the 
streets of Apia, taking possession. The cost 
of this respectable success in ammunition must 
have been enormous ; in life it was but small. 
Some compute forty killed on either side, 
others forty on both, three or four being 
women and one a white man, master of a 
schooner from Fiji. Nor was the number even 
of the wounded at all proportionate to the sur- 
prising din and fury of the affair while it 

140 Eight Years of Trouble In Samoa 



September-November 1888 

Brandeis had held all day by Mulinuu, ex- 
pecting the reported real attack. He woke 
on the 13th to find himself cut off on that 
unwatered promontory, and the Mataafa vil- 
lagers parading Apia. The same day Fritze 
received a letter from Mataafa summoning him 
to withdraw his party from the isthmus ; and 
Fritze, as if in answer, drew in his ship into the 
small harbour close to Mulinuu, and trained his 
port battery to assist in the defence. From a 
step so decisive, it might be thought the Ger- 
man plans were unaffected by the disastrous 
issue of the battle. I conceive nothing would 
be farther from the truth. Here was Tamasese 
penned on Mulinuu with his troops ; Apia, from 
which alone these could be subsisted, in the 

Last Exploits of Becker 141 

hands of the enemy ; a battle imminent, in 
which the German vessel must apparently take 
part with men and battery, and the buildings of 
the German firm were apparently destined to be 
the first target of fire. Unless Becker re-estab- 
lished that which he had so lately and so art- 
fully thrown down — the neutral territory — 
the firm would have to suffer. If he re-es- 
tablished it, Tamasese must retire from Muli- 
nuu. If Becker saved his goose, he lost his 
cabbage. Nothing so well depicts the man's 
effrontery as that he should have conceived the 
design of saving both, — of re-establishing only 
so much of the neutral territory as should ham- 
per Mataafa, and leaving in abeyance all that 
could incommode Tamasese. By drawing the 
boundary where he now proposed, across the 
isthmus, he protected the firm, drove .back the 
Mataafas out of almost all that they had con- 
quered, and, so far from disturbing Tamasese, 
actually fortified him in his old position. 

The real story of the negotiations that fol- 
lowed we shall perhaps never learn. But so 
much is plain : that while Becker was thus out- 
wardly straining decency in the interest of Tama- 

142 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

sese, he was privately intriguing or pretending 
to intrigue with Mataafa. In his despatch of 
the nth, he had given an extended criticism of 
that chieftain, whom he depicts as very dark 
and artful ; and while admitting that his assump- 
tion of the name of Malietoa might raise him up 
followers, predicted that he could not make an 
orderly government or support himself long in 
the sole power " without very energetic foreign 
help." Of what help was the consul thinking ? 
There was no helper in the field but Germany. 
On the 15th he had an interview with the vic- 
tor ; told him that Tamasese's was the only gov- 
ernment recognised by Germany, and that he 
must continue to recognise it till he received 
" other instructions from his government, whom 
he was now advising of the late events " ; re- 
fused, accordingly, to withdraw the guard from 
the isthmus; and desired Mataafa, "until the 
arrival of these fresh instructions," to refrain 
from an attack on Mulinuu. One thing of two : 
either this language is extremely perfidious, or 
Becker was preparing to change sides. The 
same detachment appears in his despatch of 
October 7th. He computes the losses of the 

Last Exploits of Becker 143 

German firm with an easy cheerfulness. If 
Tamasese get up again (gelingt die wiederher- 
stellung der regierung Tamasese s), Tamasese 
will have to pay. If not, then Mataafa. This is 
not the language of a partizan. The tone of 
indifference, the easy implication that the case 
of Tamasese was already desperate, the hopes 
held secretly forth to Mataafa and secretly re- 
ported to his government at home, trenchantly 
contrast with his external conduct. At this 
very time he was feeding Tamasese ; he had 
German sailors mounting guard on Tamasese's 
battlements ; the German war-ship lay close in, 
whether to help or to destroy. If he meant to 
drop the cause of Tamasese, he had him in a 
corner, helpless, and could stifle him without a 
sob. If he meant to rat, it was to be with every 
condition of safety and every circumstance of 

Was it conceivable, then, that he meant it ? 
Speaking with a gentleman who was in the con- 
fidence of Dr. Knappe : "Was it not a pity," 
I asked, " that Knappe did not stick to Beck- 
er's policy of supporting Mataafa?" — "You 
are quite wrong there ; that was not Knappe's 

144 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

doing," was the reply. " Becker had changed 
his mind before Knappe came." Why, then, 
had he changed it ? This excellent, if ignomin- 
ious, idea once entertained, why was it let drop ? 
It is to be remembered there was another Ger- 
man in the field, Brandeis, who had a respect, 
or rather, perhaps, an affection, for Tamasese, 
and who thought his own honour and that of his 
country engaged in the support of that govern- 
ment which they had provoked and founded. 
Becker described the captain to Laupepa as " a 
quiet, sensible gentleman." If any word came 
to his ears of the intended manoeuvre, Brandeis 
would certainly show himself very sensible 
of the affront; but Becker might have been 
tempted to withdraw his former epithet of quiet. 
Some such passage, some such threatened 
change of front at the consulate, opposed with 
outcry, would explain what seems otherwise in- 
explicable, the bitter, indignant, almost hostile 
tone of a subsequent letter from Brandeis to 
Knappe — " Brandeis's inflammatory letter," 
Bismarck calls it — the proximate cause of the 
German landing and reverse at Fangalii. 

But whether the advances of Becker were 

Last Exploits of Becker 145 

sincere or not — whether he meditated treachery 
against the old king or was practising treachery 
upon the new, and the choice is between one 
or other — no doubt but he contrived to gain 
his points with Mataafa, prevailing on him to 
change his camp for the better protection of 
the German plantations, and persuading him 
(long before he could persuade his brother 
consuls) to accept that miraculous new neutral 
territory of his, with a piece cut out for the 
immediate needs of Tamasese. 

During the rest of September, Tamasese 
continued to decline. On the 19th one village 
and half of another deserted him ; on the 22d 
two more. On the 21st the Mataafas burned 
his town of Leulumoenga, his own splendid 
house flaming with the rest ; and there are few 
things of which a native thinks more, or has 
more reason to think well, than of a fine 
Samoan house. Tamasese women and children 
were marched up the same day from Atua, 
and handed over with their sleeping-mats to 
Mulinuu : a most unwelcome addition to a 
party already suffering from want. By the 
20th, they were being watered from the AdUr. 

146 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

On the 24th, the Manono fleet of sixteen large 
boats, fortified and rendered unmanageable 
with tons of firewood, passed to windward to 
intercept supplies from Atua. By the 27th, the 
hungry garrison flocked in great numbers to 
draw rations at the German firm. On the 28th, 
the same business *vas repeated with a different 
issue. Mataafa's crowded to look on ; words 
were exchanged, blows followed ; sticks, stones, 
and bottles were caught up ; the detested 
Brandeis, at great risk, threw himself between 
the lines and expostulated with the Mataafas — 
his only personal appearance in the wars, if this 
could be called war. The same afternoon, the 
Tamasese boats got in with provisions, having 
passed to seaward of the lumbering Manono 
fleet; and from that day on, whether from a 
high degree of enterprise on the one side or a 
great lack of capacity on the other, supplies 
were maintained from the sea with regularity. 
Thus the spectacle of battle, or at least of riot, 
at the doors of the German firm was not 
repeated. But the memory must have hung 
heavy on the hearts, not of the Germans only, 
but of all Apia. The Samoans are a gentle 

Last Exploits of Becker 147 

race, gentler than any in Europe ; we are often 
enough reminded of the circumstance, not 
always by their friends. But a mob is a mob, 
and a drunken mob is a drunken mob, and a 
drunken mob with weapons in its hands is 
a drunken mob with weapons in its hands, all 
the world over : elementary propositions, which 
some of us upon these islands might do worse 
than get by rote, but which must have been 
evident enough to Becker. And I am amazed 
by the man's constancy, that, even while blows 
were going at the door of that German firm 
which he was in Samoa to protect, he should 
have stuck to his demands. Ten days before 
Blacklock had offered to recognise the old 
territory including Mulinuu, and Becker had 
refused, and still in the midst of these "alarums 
and excursions," he continued to refuse it. 

On October 2d, anchored in Apia bay 
H.B.M.S. Calliope, Captain Kane, carrying the 
flag of Rear-Admiral Fairfax, and the gunboat 
Lizard, Lieutenant-Commander Pelly. It was 
rumoured the admiral had come to recognise 
the government of Tamasese, I believe in error. 
And at least the day for that was quite gone 

148 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

by; and he arrived not to salute the king's 
accession, but to arbitrate on his remains. A 
conference of the consuls and commanders met 
on board the Calliope, October 4th, Fritze alone 
being absent, although twice invited : the affair 
touched politics, his consul was to be there ; and 
even if he came to the meeting (so he explained 
to Fairfax) he would have no voice in its delib- 
erations. The parties were plainly marked 
out: Blacklock and Leary maintaining their 
offer of the old neutral territory, and probably 
willing to expand or to contract it to any con- 
ceivable extent, so long as Mulinuu was still 
included ; Knappe offering (if the others liked) 
to include " the whole eastern end of the 
island," but quite fixed upon the one point that 
Mulinuu should be left out ; the English willing 
to meet either view, and singly desirous that 
Apia should be neutralised. The conclusion 
was foregone. Becker held a trump card in the 
consent of Mataafa; Blacklock and Leary 
stood alone, spoke with an ill grace, and could 
not long hold out. Becker had his way; and 
the neutral boundary was chosen just where he 
desired : across the isthmus, the firm within, 

Last Exploits of Becker 1 49 

Mulinuu without. He did not long enjoy the 
fruits of victory. 

On the 7th, three days after the meeting, one 
of the Scanlons (well known and intelligent 
half-castes) came to Blacklock with a complaint. 
The Scanlon house stood on the hither side of 
the Tamasese breastwork, just inside the newly 
accepted territory, and within easy range of the 
firm. Armed men, to the number of a hundred, 
had issued from Mulinuu, had "taken charge" 
of the house, had pointed a gun at Scanlon's 
head, and had twice "threatened to kill" his 
pigs. I hear elsewhere of some effects ( Gcgcn- 
stdndc) removed. At the best a very pale 
atrocity, though we shall find the word em- 
ployed. Germans declare besides that Scan- 
lon was no American subject ; they declare the 
point had been decided by court-martial in 1875 ; 
that Blacklock had the decision in the consular 
archives ; and that this was his reason for 
handing the affair to Leary. It is not neces- 
sary to suppose so. It is plain he thought little 
of the business; thought Indeed nothing of it; 
except in so far as armed men had entered the 
neutral territory from Mulinuu; and it was on 

1 50 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

this ground alone, and the implied breach of 
Becker's engagement at the conference, that 
he invited Leary's attention to the tale. The 
impish ingenuity of the commander perceived 
in it huge possibilities of mischief. He took up 
the Scanlon outrage, the atrocity of the threat- 
ened pigs ; and with that poor instrument — I 
am sure, to his own wonder — drove Tamasese 
out of Mulinuu. It was " an intrigue," Becker 
complains. To be sure it was ; but who was 
Becker to be complaining of intrigue ? 

On the 7th Leary laid before Fritze the fol- 
lowing conundrum : " As the natives at Mulinuu 
appear to be under the protection of the Im- 
perial German naval guard belonging to the 
vessel under your command, I have the honour 
to request you to inform me whether or not they 
are under such protection ? Amicable relations," 
pursued the humourist, " amicable relations 
exist between the government of the United 
States and His Imperial German Majesty's 
government, but we do not recognise Tamasese's 
government, and I am desirous of locating the 
responsibility for violations of American rights." 
Becker and Fritze lost no time in explanation 

Last Exploits of Becker 1 5 1 

or denial, but went straight to the root of the 
matter and sought to buy off Scanlon. Becker 
declares that every reparation was offered. 
Scanlon takes a pride to recapitulate the leases 
and the situations he refused, and the long 
interviews in which he was tempted and plied 
with drink by Becker or Beckmann of the firm. 
No doubt, in short, that he was offered repara- 
tion in reason and out of reason, and being 
thoroughly primed, refused it all. Meantime 
some answer must be made to Leary ; and 
Fritze repeated on the 8th his oft-repeated 
assurances that he was not authorised to deal 
with politics. The same day Leary retorted : 
" The question is not one of diplomacy nor of 
politics. It is strictly one of military jurisdiction 
and responsibility. Under the shadow of the 
German fort at Mulinuu," continued the hyper- 
bolical commander, " atrocities have been com- 
mitted. . . . And I again have the honour 
respectfully to request to be informed whether 
or not the armed natives at Miilinun are under 
the protection of the Imperial German naval 
guard belonging to the vessel under your com- 
mand. M To this, no answer was vouchsafed 

152 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

till the nth, and then in the old terms; and 
meanwhile, on the 10th, Leary got into his 
gaiters — the sure sign, as was both said and 
sung aboard his vessel, of some desperate or 
some amusing service — and was set ashore at 
the Scanlons' house. Of this he took posses- 
sion at the head of an old woman and a mop, 
and was seen from the Tamasese breastwork 
directing operations and plainly preparing to 
install himself there in a military posture. So 
much he meant to be understood ; so much he 
meant to carry out, and an armed party from 
the Adams was to have garrisoned on the mor- 
row the scene of the atrocity. But there is no 
doubt he managed to convey more. No doubt 
he was a master in the art of loose speaking, 
and could always manage to be overheard when 
he wanted ; and by this, or some other equally 
unofficial means, he spread the rumour that on 
the morrow he was to bombard. 

The proposed post, from its position, and 
from Leary's well-established character as an 
artist in mischief, must have been regarded by 
the Germans with uneasiness. In the bombard- 
ment, we can scarce suppose them to have be* 

Last Exploits of Becker 1 5 3 

lieved. But Tamasese must have both believed 
and trembled. The prestige of the European 
powers was still unbroken. No native would 
then have dreamed of defying these colossal 
ships, worked by mysterious powers, and laden 
with outlandish instruments of death. None 
would have dreamed of resisting those strange 
but quite unrealised Great Powers, understood 
(with difficulty) to be larger than Tonga and 
Samoa put together, and known to be prolific of 
prints, knives, hard biscuit, picture books, and 
other luxuries, as well as of overbearing men 
and inconsistent orders. Laupepa had fallen 
in ill-blood with one of them ; his only idea of 
defence had been to throw himself in the arms 
of another; his name, his rank, and his great 
following had not been able to preserve him; 
and he had vanished from the eyes of men — 
as the Samoan thinks of it, beyond the sky. 
Asi, Maunga, Tuiletufunga, had followed him 
in that new path of doom. We have seen how 
carefully Mataafa still walked, how lie dared 
not set foot Oil the neutral territory till assured 
it was no longer Bacred, how he withdrew from 
it again as soon as its sat redness had been 

154 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

restored, and at the bare word of a consul (how- 
ever gilded with ambiguous promises) paused in 
his course of victory and left his rival unassailed 
in Mulinuu. And now it was the rival's turn. 
Hitherto happy in the continued support of one 
of the white powers, he now found himself — 
or thought himself — threatened with war by 
no less than two others. 

Tamasese boats as they passed Matautu were 
in the habit of firing on the shore, as like as not 
without particular aim and more in high spirits 
than hostility. One of these shots pierced the 
house of a British subject near the consulate; 
the consul reported to Admiral Fairfax ; and, on 
the morning of the ioth, the admiral despatched 
Captain Kane of the Calliope to Mulinuu. Bran- 
deis met the messenger with voluble excuses and 
engagements for the future. He was told his 
explanations were satisfactory so far as they 
went, but that the admiral's message was to 
Tamasese, the de facto king. Brandeis, not very 
well assured of his puppet's courage, attempted 
in vain to excuse him from appearing. No de 
facto king, no message, he was told : produce 
your de facto king. And Tamasese had at last 

Last Exploits of Becker 1 5 5 

to be produced. To him Kane delivered his 
errand : that the Lizard was to remain for the 
protection of British subjects; that a signalman 
was to be stationed at the consulate ; that, on 
any farther firing from boats, the signalman 
was to notify the Lizard and she to fire one 
gun, on which all boats must lower sail and 
come alongside for examination and the detec- 
tion of the guilty ; and that, " in the event of 
the boats not obeying the gun, the admiral 
would not be responsible for the consequences." 
It was listened to by Brandeis and Tamasese 
"with the greatest attention." Brandeis, when 
it was done, desired his thanks to the admiral 
for the moderate terms of his message, and, as 
Kane went to his boat, repeated the expression 
of his gratitude as though he meant it, declaring 
his own hands would be thus strengthened for 
the maintenance of discipline. But I have yet 
to learn of any gratitude on the part of Tama- 
sese. Consider the ease of the poor owlish man 
hearing for the first time our diplomatic com- 
monplaces. The admiral would not be answer- 
able for the consequences. Think of it! A 
devil of a position lor a dc facto king. And 

156 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

here, the same afternoon, was Leary in the 
Scanlon house, mopping it out for unknown 
designs by the hands of an old woman, and 
proffering strange threats of bloodshed. Scan- 
lon and his pigs, the admiral and his gun, Leary 
and his bombardment, — what a kettle of fish ! 

I dwell on the effect on Tamasese. What- 
ever the faults of Becker, he was not timid ; he 
had already braved so much for Mulinuu that I 
cannot but think he might have continued to hold 
up his head even after the outrage of the pigs, 
and that the weakness now shown originated 
with the king. Late in the night, Blacklock was 
wakened to receive a despatch addressed to 
Leary. " You have asked that I and my govern- 
ment go away from Mulinuu, because you pre- 
tend a man who lives near Mulinuu and who is 
under your protection has been threatened by my 
soldiers. As your excellency has forbidden the 
man to accept any satisfaction, and as I do not 
wish to make war against the United States, I 
shall remove my government from Mulinuu to 
another place." It was signed by Tamasese, but 
I think more heads than his had wagged over 
the direct and able letter. On the morning of 

Last Exploits of Becker 157 

me nth, accordingly, Mulinuu the much de« 
fended lay desert. Tamasese and Brandeis had 
slipped to sea in a schooner ; their troops had 
followed them in boats ; the German sailors and 
their war-flag had returned on board the Adler ; 
and only the German merchant flag blew there 
for Weber's land-claim. Mulinuu, for which 
Becker had intrigued so long and so often, for 
which he had overthrown the municipality, for 
which he had abrogated and refused and in- 
vented successive schemes of neutral territory, 
was now no more to the Germans than a very 
unattractive, barren peninsula and a very much 
disputed land-claim of Mr. Weber's. It will 
scarcely be believed that the tale of the Scanlon 
outrages was not yet finished. Leary had gained 
his point, but Scanlon had lost his compensa- 
tion. And it was months later, and this time in 
the shape of a threat of bombardment in black 
and white, that Tamasese heard the last of the 
absurd affair. Scanlon had both his fun and 
his money, and Leary's practical joke was 
brought to an artistic end. 

Becker sought and missed an instant revenge. 

Mataafa, a devout Catholic, was in the habit of 

158 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

walking every morning to mass from his camp 
at Vaiala beyond Matautu to the mission at the 
Mulivai. He was sometimes escorted by as 
many as six guards in uniform, who displayed 
their proficiency in drill by perpetually shifting 
arms as they marched. Himself, meanwhile, 
paced in front, bareheaded and barefoot, a staff 
in his hand, in the customary chief's dress of 
white kilt, shirt, and jacket, and with a conspic- 
uous rosary about his neck. Tall but not 
heavy, with eager eyes and a marked appear- 
ance of courage and capacity, Mataafa makes 
an admirable figure in the eyes of Europeans ; 
to those of his countrymen, he may seem not 
always to preserve that quiescence of manner 
which is thought becoming in the great On 
the morning of October 16th, he reached the 
mission before day with two attendants, heard 
mass, had coffee with the fathers, and left again 
in safety. The smallness of his following we 
may suppose to have been reported. He was 
scarce gone, at least, before Becker had armed 
men at the mission gate and came in person 
seeking him. 

The failure of this attempt doubtless still 

Last Exploits of Becker 159 

further exasperated the consul, and he began to 
deal as in an enemy's country. He had marines 
from the Adlcr to stand sentry over the con- 
sulate and parade the streets by threes and 
fours. The bridge of the Vaisingano, which 
cuts in half the English and American quarters, 
he closed by proclamation and advertised for 
tenders to demolish it. On the 17th, Leary and 
Pelly landed carpenters and repaired it in his 
teeth. Leary, besides, had marines under arms, 
ready to land them if it should be necessary to 
protect the work. But Becker looked on with- 
out interference, perhaps glad enough to have 
the bridge repaired ; for even Becker may not 
always have offended intentionally. Such was 
now the distracted posture of the little town : 
all government extinct, the German consul 
patrolling it with armed men and issuing proc- 
lamations like a ruler, the two other powers 
defying his commands, and at least one of them 
prepared to use force in the defiance. Close on 
•its skirts sat the warriors of Mataala, perhaps 
four thousand strong, highly incensed against 
the Germans, having all to gain in the seizure 
of the town and firm, and like an army in a 

160 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

fairy tale, restrained by the air-drawn boundary 
of the neutral ground. 

I have had occasion to refer to the strange 
appearance in these islands of an American 
adventurer with a battery of cannon. The 
adventurer was long since gone, but his guns 
remained, and one of them was now to make 
fresh history. It had been cast overboard by 
Brandeis on the outer reef in the course of this 
retreat; and word of it coming to the ears of 
the Mataafas, they thought it natural that they 
should serve themselves the heirs of Tamasese. 
On the 23d, a Manono boat of the kind called 
taamualua dropped down the coast from 
Mataafa's camp, called in broad day at the 
German quarter of the town for guides, and 
proceeded to the reef. Here, diving with a 
rope, they got the gun aboard ; and the night 
being then come, returned by the same route in 
the shallow water along shore, singing a boat 
song. It will be seen with what childlike reli- 
ance they had accepted the neutrality of Apia' 
bay ; they came for the gun without conceal- 
ment, laboriously dived for it in broad day 
under the eyes of the town and shipping, and 

Last Exploits of Becker 161 

returned with it, singing as they went. On 
Grevsmuhl's wharf, a light showed them a crowd 
of German bluejackets clustered, and a hail was 
heard. " Stop the singing so that we may hear 
what is said," said one of the chiefs in the taumu- 
alua. The song ceased ; the hail was heard again, 
"Ah mai le fana — bring the gun"; and the 
natives report themselves to have replied in the 
affirmative, and declare they had begun to back 
the boat. It is perhaps not needful to believe 
them. A volley at least was fired from the 
wharf, at about fifty yards' range and with a 
very ill direction, one bullet whistling over 
Pelly's head on board the Lizard. The natives 
jumped overboard ; and swimming under the 
lee of the taumualua (where they escaped a 
second volley) dragged her towards the east. 
As soon as they were out of range and past the 
Mulivai, the German border, they got on board 
and (again singing — though perhaps a different 
song) continued their return along the English 
and American shore. Off Matautu they were 
hailed from the seaward by one ot the Ad/rrs 

boats, which had been suddenly despatched on 

the sound oi the firing 01 had stood ready all 

1 62 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

evening to secure the gun. The hail was in 
German ; the Samoans knew not what it meant, 
but took the precaution to jump overboard and 
swim for land. Two volleys and some dropping 
shot were poured upon them in the water ; but 
they dived, scattered, and came to land unhurt 
in different quarters of Matautu. The volleys, 
fired inshore, raked the highway, a British 
house was again pierced by numerous bullets, 
and these sudden sounds of war scattered con- 
sternation through the town. 

Two British subjects, Hetherington-Carruth- 
ers, a solicitor, and Maben, a land-surveyor — 
the first being in particular a man well versed in 
the native mind and language — hastened at once 
to their consul ; assured him the Mataafas would 
be roused to fury by this onslaught in the 
neutral zone, that the German quarter would be 
certainly attacked, and the rest of the town and 
white inhabitants exposed to a peril very diffi- 
cult of estimation ; and prevailed upon him to 
intrust them with a mission to the king. By 
the time they reached headquarters, the warriors 
were already taking post round Matafele, and 
the agitation of Mataafa himself was betrayed 

L ast Exp loits of Becker 163 

in the fact that he spoke with the deputation 
standing and gun in hand : a breach of high- 
chief dignity perhaps unparalleled. The usual 
result, however, followed : the whites persuaded 
the Samoan ; and the attack was countermanded, 
to the benefit of all concerned, and not least of 
Mataafa. To the benefit of all, I say ; for I do 
not think the Germans were that evening in a 
posture to resist ; the liquor cellars of the firm 
must thus have fallen into the power of the 
insurgents ; and I will repeat my formula that a 
mob is a mob, a drunken mob is a drunken mob, 
and a drunken mob with weapons in its hands 
is a drunken mob with weapons in its hands, all 
the world over. 

In the opinion of some, then, the town had 
narrowly escaped destruction or at least the 
miseries of a drunken sack. To the knowledge 
of all, the air of the neutral territory had once 
more whistled with bullets. And it was clear 
the incident must have diplomatic consequences. 
Leary and Pelly both protested to Fritze. 
Leary announced he should report the affair to 
his government "as a gross violation of the 

principles of international law and as a breach 

164 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

of the neutrality." " I positively decline the 
protest," replied Fritze, "and cannot fail to 
express my astonishment at the tone of your 
last letter." This was trenchant. It may be 
said, however, that Leary was already out of 
court; that, after the night signals and the 
Scanlon incident, and so many other acts of 
practical if humorous hostility, his position as 
a neutral was no better than a doubtful jest. 
The case with Pelly was entirely different ; and 
with Pelly, Fritze was less well inspired. In his 
first note, he was on the old guard ; announced 
that he had acted on the requisition of his 
consul, who was alone responsible on "the 
legal side " ; and declined accordingly to discuss 
"whether the lives of British subjects were in 
danger, and to what extent armed intervention 
was necessary." Pelly replied judiciously that 
he had nothing to do with political matters, 
being only responsible for the safety of her 
Majesty's ship under his command and for the 
lives and property of British subjects ; that he 
had considered his protest a purely naval one ; 
and as the matter stood could only report the 
case to the admiral on the station. " I have the 

Last Exploits of Becker 165 

honour," replied Fritze, "to refuse to entertain 
the protest concerning the safety of her Bri- 
tannic Majesty's ship Lizard as being a naval 
matter. The safety of her Majesty's ship 
Lizard was never in the least endangered. 
This was guaranteed by the disciplined fire of a 
few shots under the direction of two officers." 
This offensive note, in view of Fritze's careful 
and honest bearing among so many other com- 
plications, may be attributed to some misunder- 
standing. His small knowledge of English 
perhaps failed him. But I cannot pass it by 
without remarking how far too much it is the 
custom of German officials to fall into this style. 
It may be witty, I am sure it is not wise. It 
may be sometimes necessary to offend for a 
definite object, it can never be diplomatic to 
offend gratuitously. 

Becker was more explicit, although scarce less 
curt. And his defence may be divided into 
two statements : first, that the taumualua was 
proceeding to land with a hostile purpose on 
Muliniiu ; second, that the shots complained of 
were fired by tin- Samoans. The seeond may 
be dismissed with a laugh. Human nature has 

1 66 Eight Years of Trouble hi Samoa 

laws. And no men hitherto discovered, on 
being suddenly challenged from the sea, would 
have turned their backs upon the challenger 
and poured volleys on the friendly shore. The 
first is not extremely credible, but merits exami- 
nation. The story of the recovered gun seems 
straightforward ; it is supported by much tes- 
timony, the diving operations on the reef seem 
to have been watched from shore with curiosity ; 
it is hard to suppose that it does not roughly 
represent the fact. And yet if any part of it 
be true, the whole of Becker's explanation falls 
to the ground. A boat which had skirted the 
whole eastern coast of Mulinuu, and was already 
opposite a wharf in Matafele, and still going 
west, might have been guilty on a thousand 
points — there was one on which she was neces- 
sarily innocent ; she was necessarily innocent of 
proceeding on Mulinuu. Or suppose the diving 
operations, and the native testimony, and Pelly's 
chart of the boat's course, and the boat itself, 
to be all stages of some epidemic hallucination 
or steps in a conspiracy — suppose even a sec- 
ond tanmualua to have entered Apia bay after 
nightfall, and to have been fired upon from 

Last Exploits of Becker 167 

Grevsmiihl's wharf in the full career of hos- 
tilities against Mulinuu — suppose all this, and 
Becker is not helped. At the time of the first 
fire, the boat was off Grevsmiihl's wharf. At 
the time of the second (and that is the one 
complained of) she was off Carruthers's wharf 
in Matautu. Was she still proceeding on Muli- 
nuu ? I trow not. The danger to German 
property was no longer imminent, the shots 
had been fired upon a very trifling provoca- 
tion, the spirit implied was that of designed 
disregard to the neutrality. Such was the im- 
pression here on the spot ; such in plain terms 
the statement of Count Hatzfeldt to Lord Salis- 
bury at home : that the neutrality of Apia was 
only " to prevent the natives from fighting," not 
the Germans; and that whatever Becker might 
have promised at the conference, he could not 
" restrict German war-vessels in their freedom 
of action." 

There was nothing to surprise in this dis- 
covery ; and had c-vrnts been guided at the 
same time with a steady and discreet hand, it 
might have passed with less observation. But 
the policy of Becker was felt to be not only 

1 68 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

reckless, it was felt to be absurd also. Sudden 
nocturnal onfalls upon native boats could lead, 
it was felt, to no good end whether of peace 
or war ; they could but exasperate ; they might 
prove, in a moment and when least expected, 
ruinous. To those who knew how nearly it 
had come to righting, and who considered the 
probable result, the future looked ominous. 
And fear was mingled with annoyance in the 
minds of the Anglo-Saxon colony. On the 
24th, a public meeting appealed to the British 
and American consuls. At half-past seven in 
the evening guards were landed at the consu- 
lates. On the morrow they were each fortified 
with sand-bags ; and the subjects informed by 
proclamation that these asylums stood open to 
them on any alarm, and at any hour of the 
day or night. The social bond in Apia was 
dissolved. The consuls, like barons of old, 
dwelt each in his armed citadel. The rank 
and file of the white nationalities dared each 
other, and sometimes fell to on the street like 
rival clansmen. And the little town, not by 
any fault of the inhabitants, rather by the act 
of Becker, had fallen back in civilisation about 
a thousand years. 

Last Exploits of Becker 169 

There falls one more incident to be narrated, 
and then I can close with this ungracious chap- 
ter. I have mentioned the name of the new 
English consul. It is already familiar to Eng- 
lish readers ; for the gentleman who was fated 
to undergo some strange experiences in Apia, 
was the same de Coetlogon who covered Hicks's 
flank at the time of the disaster in the desert, 
and bade farewell to Gordon in Khartoum be- 
fore the investment. The colonel was abrupt 
and testy ; Mrs. de Coetlogon was too exclusive 
for a society like that of Apia ; but whatever 
their superficial disabilities, it is strange they 
should have left, in such an odour of unpopu- 
larity, a place where they set so shining an 
example of the sterling virtues. The colonel 
was perhaps no diplomatist ; he was certainly 
no lawyer ; but he discharged the duties of his 
office with the constancy and courage of an old 
soldier, and these were found sufficient. lie 
and his wife had no ambition to be the loaders 
of society ; the consulate was in their time no 
house of feasting; but they made of it that 

house of mourning to which the preacher tells 

us it is better we should go. At an early date 

1 70 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

after the battle of Matautu, it was opened as a 
hospital for the wounded. The English and 
Americans subscribed what was required for its # 
support. Pelly of the Lizard strained every 
nerve to help, and set up tents on the lawn to 
be a shelter for the patients. The doctors of 
the English and American ships, and in par- 
ticular Dr. Oakley of the Lizard, showed them- 
selves indefatigable. But it was on the de 
Coetlogons that the distress fell. For nearly 
half a year, their lawn, their verandah, some- 
times their rooms, were cumbered with the sick 
and dying, their ears were filled with the com- 
plaints of suffering humanity, their time was too 
short for the multiplicity of pitiful duties. In 
Mrs. de Coetlogon, and her helper, Miss Taylor, 
the merit of this endurance was perhaps to be 
looked for; in a man of the colonel's temper, 
himself painfully suffering, it was viewed with 
more surprise if with no more admiration. 
Doubtless all had their reward in a sense of 
duty done ; doubtless, also, as the days passed, 
in the spectacle of many traits of gratitude and 
patience, and in the success that waited on their 
efforts. Out of a hundred cases treated, only 


Last Exploits of Becker 1 7 1 

five died. They were all well behaved, though 
full of childish wiles. One old gentleman, a 
high chief, was seized with alarming symptoms 
of bellyache whenever Mrs. de Coetlogon went 
her rounds at night : he was after brandy. 
Others were insatiable for morphine or opium. 
A chief woman had her foot amputated under 
chloroform. " Let me see my foot ! Why does 
it not hurt?" she cried. "It hurt so badly 
before I went to sleep." Siteone, whose name 
has been already mentioned, had his shoulder- 
blade excised, lay the longest of any, perhaps 
behaved the worst, and was on all these grounds 
the favourite. At times he was furiously irri- 
table, and would rail upon his family and rise 
in bed until he swooned with pain. Once on 
the balcony he was thought to be dying, his 
family keening round his mat, his father exhort- 
ing him to be prepared, when Mrs. de Coet- 
logon brought him round again with brandy 
and smelling-salts. After discharge, he returned 
upon a visit of gratitude ; and it was observed, 

that instead of coming straight to the door, he 
went and stood long under his umbrella on that 

spot of ground where his mat had been stretched 

172 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

and he had endured pain so many months. 
Similar visits were the rule, I believe without 
exception ; and the grateful patients loaded 
Mrs. de Coetlogon with gifts which (had that 
been possible in Polynesia) she would willingly 
have declined, for they were often of value to 
the givers. 

The tissue of my story is one of rapacity, in- 
trigue, and the triumphs of temper ; the hospital 
at the consulate stands out almost alone as an 
episode of human beauty, and I dwell on it with 
satisfaction. But it was not regarded at the 
time with universal favour ; and even to-day its 
institution is thought by many to have been im- 
politic. It was opened, it stood open, for the 
wounded of either party. As a matter of fact it 
was never used but by the Mataafas, and the 
Tamaseses were cared for exclusively by Ger- 
man doctors. In the progressive decivilisation 
of the town, these duties of humanity became 
thus a ground of quarrel. When the Mataafa 
hurt were first brought together after the battle 
of Matautu, and some more or less amateur sur- 
geons were dressing wounds on a green by the 
wayside, one from the German consulate went 

Last Exploits of Becker 173 

by in the road. " Why don't you let the dogs 
die ? " he asked. — " Go to Hell," was the re- 
joinder. Such were the amenities of Apia. 
But Becker reserved for himself the extreme 
expression of this spirit. On November 7th, 
hostilities began again between the Samoan 
armies, and an inconclusive skirmish sent a 
fresh crop of wounded to the de Coetlogons. 
Next door to the consulate, some native houses 
and a chapel (now ruinous) stood on a green. 
Chapel and houses were certainly Samoan, but 
the ground was under a land-claim of the Ger- 
man firm ; and de Coetlogon wrote to Becker 
requesting permission (in case it should prove 
necessary) to use these structures for his 
wounded. Before an answer came, the hos- 
pital was startled by the appearance of a case 
of gangrene, and the patient was hastily re- 
moved into the chapel. A rebel laid on Ger- 
man ground — here was an atrocity ! The day 
before his own relief, November nth, Becker 
ordered the man's instant removal. By his 
aggressive carriage and singular mixture of 
violence and cunning, he had already largely 
brought about the fall of Brandeis, and forced 

1 74 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

into an attitude of hostility the whole non- 
German population of the islands. Now, in 
his last hour of office, by this wanton buffet to 
his English colleague, he prepared a continu- 
ance of evil days for his successor. If the 
object of diplomacy be the organisation of 
failure in the midst of hate, he was a great 
diplomatist. And amongst a certain party on 
the beach he is still named as the ideal consul. 


The Samoan Camps 175 


November 1888 

When Brandeis and Tamasese fled by night 
from Mulinuu, they carried their wandering gov- 
ernment some six miles to windward, to a posi- 
tion above Lotoanuu. For some three miles to 
the eastward of Apia, the shores of Upolu are 
low and the ground rises with a gentle acclivity, 
much of which waves with German plantations. 
A barrier reef encloses a lagoon passable for 
boats : and the traveller skims there, on smooth, 
many-tinted shallows, between the wall of the 
breakers on the one hand, and on the other a 
succession of palm-tree capes and cheerful 
beach-side villages. Beyond the great planta- 
tion of Vailele, the character of the coast is 
changed. The barrier reef abruptly ceases, the 
surf beats direct upon the shore; and the moun- 
tains and untenanted forest of the interior de- 

1 76 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

scend sheer into the sea. The first mountain 
promontory is Letongo. The bay beyond is 
called Laulii, and became the headquarters of 
Mataafa. And on the next projection, on steep, 
intricate ground, veiled in forest and cut up by 
gorges and defiles, Tamasese fortified his lines. 
This greenwood citadel, which proved impreg- 
nable by Samoan arms, may be regarded as his 
front ; the sea covered his right ; and his rear 
extended along the coast as far as Saluafata, 
and thus commanded and drew upon a rich 
country including the plain of Falefa. 

He was left in peace from nth October till 
November 6th. But his adversary is not wholly 
to be blamed for this delay, which depended 
upon island etiquette. His Savaii contingent 
had not yet come in, and to have moved again 
without waiting for them would have been 
surely to offend, perhaps to lose them. With 
the month of November they began to arrive : 
on the 2d twenty boats, on the 3d twenty-nine, 
on the 5th seventeen. On the 6th the position 
Mataafa had so long occupied on the skirts of 
Apia was deserted ; all that day and night his 
force kept streaming eastward to Laulii; and 

The Samoan Camps 177 

on the 7th the siege of Lotoanuu was opened 
with a brisk skirmish. 

Each side built forts, facing across the gorge 
of a brook. An endless fusillade and shouting 
maintained the spirit of the warriors ; and at 
night, even if the firing slackened, the pickets 
continued to exchange from either side volleys 
of songs and pungent pleasantries. Nearer 
hostilities were rendered difficult by the nature 
of the ground, where men must thread dense 
bush and clamber on the face of precipices. 
Apia was near enough ; a man, if he had a dol- 
lar or two, could walk in before a battle and 
array himself in silk or velvet. Casualties were 
not common ; there was nothing to cast gloom 
upon the camps, and no more danger than was 
required to give a spice to the perpetual firing. 
For the young warriors it was a period of 
admirable enjoyment. But the anxiety of 
Mataafa must have been great and growing. 
His force was now considerable. It was scarce 
likely he should ever have more. That he 
should be long able to supply them with am- 
munition seemed incredible : at the rates then 
or soon after current, hundreds of pounds ster- 

1 78 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

ling might be easily blown into the air by the 
skirmishers in the course of a few days. And 
in the meanwhile, on the mountain opposite, 
his outnumbered adversary held his ground 

By this time the partizanship of the whites 
was unconcealed. Americans supplied Mataafa 
with ammunition ; English and Americans 
openly subscribed together and sent boat-loads 
of provisions to his camp. One such boat 
started from Apia on a day of rain ; it was 
pulled by six oars, three being paid by Moors, 
three by the Macarthurs ; Moors himself and 
a clerk of the Macarthurs' were in charge; 
and the load included not only beef and biscuit, 
but three or four thousand rounds of ammuni- 
tion. They came ashore in Laulii, and carried 
the gift to Mataafa. While they were yet in 
his house a bullet passed overhead ; and out of 
his door they could see the Tamasese pickets 
on the opposite hill. Thence, they made their 
way to the left flank of the Mataafa position 
next the sea. A Tamasese barricade was visi- 
ble across the stream. It rained, but the war- 
riors crowded in their shanties, squatted in the 

The Samoari Camps 1 79 

mud, and maintained an excited conversation 
Balls flew ; either faction, both happy as lords, 
spotting for the other in chance shots, and miss- 
ing. One point is characteristic of that war; 
experts in native feeling doubt if it will charac- 
terise the next. The two white visitors passed 
without and between the lines to a rocky point 
upon the beach. The person of Moors was 
well known ; the purpose of their coming to 
Laulii must have been already bruited abroad ; 
yet they were not fired upon. From the point 
they spied a crow's-nest, or hanging fortifica- 
tion, higher up ; and, judging it was a good 
position for a general view, obtained a guide. 
He led them up a steep side of the mountain, 
where they must climb by roots and tufts of 
grass ; and coming to an open hilltop with 
some scattered trees, bade them wait, let him 
draw the fire, and then be swift to follow. Per- 
haps a dozen balls whistled about him ere he 
had crossed the dangerous passage and dropped 
on the further side into the crow's-nest ; the 
white men, briskly following, escaped unhurt. 
The crow's-nest was built like a barti/an on 
the precipitous front of the position. Across 

180 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

the ravine, perhaps at five hundred yards, heads 
were to be seen popping up and down in a fort 
of Tamasese's. On both sides the same enthu- 
siasm without council, the same senseless vigi- 
lance, reigned. Some took aim ; some blazed 
before them at a venture. Now — when a head 
showed on the other side — one would take a 
crack at it, remarking it would never do to 
"miss a chance." Now they would all fire a 
volley and bob down ; a return volley rang across 
the ravine, and was punctually answered : harm- 
less as lawn tennis. The whites expostulated in 
vain. The warriors, drunken with noise, made 
answer by a fresh general discharge and bade 
their visitors run while it was time. Upon their 
return to headquarters, men were covering the 
front with sheets of coral limestone, two balls 
having passed through the house in the inter- 
val. Mataafa sat within, over his kava bowl, 
unmoved. The picture is of a piece through- 
out: excellent courage, superexcellent folly; a 
war of school-children ; expensive guns and 
cartridges used like squibs or catherine-wheels 
on Guy Fawkes's day. 

On the 20th, Mataafa changed his attack. 

The Samoan Camps 181 

Tamasese's front was seemingly impregnable. 
Something must be tried upon his rear. There 
was his bread-basket ; a small success in that 
direction would immediately curtail his re- 
sources; and it might be possible with energy 
to roll up his line along the beach and take the 
citadel in reverse. The scheme was carried out 
as might be expected from these childish sol- 
diers. Mataafa, always uneasy about Apia, 
clung with a portion of his force to Laulii ; and 
thus, had the foe been enterprising, exposed 
himself to disaster. The expedition fell suc- 
cessfully enough on Saluafata and drove out 
the Tamaseses with a loss of four heads ; but 
so far from improving the advantage, yielded 
immediately to the weakness of the £amoan 
warrior, and ranged further east through un- 
armed populations, bursting with shouts and 
blackened faces into villages terrified or admir- 
ing, making spoil of pigs, burning houses, and 
destroying gardens. The Tamaseses had at first 
evacuated several beach towns in succession, 
and were still Jn retreat on Lotuanuu ; finding 
themselves iinpursued, they reOCCUpied them 
one after another, and re-established their lines 

1 82 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

to the very borders of Saluafata. Night fell ; 
Mataafa had taken Saluafata, Tamasese had 
lost it ; and that was all. But the day came 
near to have a different and very singular issue. 
The village was not long in the hands of the 
Mataafas, when a schooner, flying German 
colours, put into the bay and was immediately 
surrounded by their boats. It chanced that 
Brandeis was on board. Word of it had gone 
abroad, and the boats as they approached de- 
manded him with threats. The late premier, 
alone, entirely unarmed, and a prey to natural 
and painful feelings, concealed himself below. 
The captain of the schooner remained on deck, 
pointed to the German colours, and defied ap- 
proaching boats. Again the prestige of a great 
power triumphed; the Samoans fell back be- 
fore the bunting; the schooner worked out of 
the bay ; Brandeis escaped. He himself appre- 
hended the worst if he fell into Samoan hands ; 
it is my diffident impression that his life would 
have been safe. 

On the 22d, a new German warship, the 
Eber, of tragic memory, came to Apia from the 
Gilberts, where she had been disarming turbu- 

The Samoau Camps 183 

lent islands. The rest of that day and all 
night she loaded stores from the firm, and on 
the morrow reached Saluafata bay. Thanks 
to the misconduct of the Mataafas, the most of 
the foreshore was still in the hands of the 
Tamaseses ; and they were thus able to receive 
from the Eber both the stores and weapons. 
The weapons had been sold long since to 
Tarawa, Apaiang, and Pleasant Island; places 
unheard of by the general reader, where ob- 
scure inhabitants paid for these instruments 
of death in money or in labour, misused them 
as it was known they would be misused, and 
had been disarmed by force. The Eber had 
brought back the guns to a German coun- 
ter, whence many must have been originally 
sold ; and was here engaged, like a shopboy, in 
their distribution to fresh purchasers. Such is 
the vicious circle of the traffic in weapons of 
war. Another aid of a more metaphysical 
nature was ministered by the Eber to Tamasese, 
in the shape of uncountable German flags. The 
full history of this epidemic of bunting falls to 
be told in the next chapter. But the fact has 
to be chronicled here, for I believe it was to 

184 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

these flags that we owe the visit of the Adams, 
and my next and best authentic glance into a 
native camp. The Adams arrived in Saluafata 
on the 26th. On the morrow Leary and Moors 
landed at the village. It was still occupied by 
Mataafas, mostly from Manono and Savaii, few 
in number, high in spirit. The Tamasese pick- 
ets were meanwhile within musket range ; there 
was maintained a steady sputtering of shots ; 
and yet a party of Tamasese women were here 
on a visit to the women of Manono, with whom 
they sat talking and smoking, under the fire 
of their own relatives. It was reported that 
Leary took part in a council of war, and 
promised to join with his broadside in the next 
attack. It is certain he did nothing of the sort : 
equally certain that, in Tamasese circles, he 
was firmly credited with having done so. And 
this heightens the extraordinary character of 
what I have now to tell. Prudence and deli- 
cacy alike ought to have forbid the camp of 
Tamasese to the feet of either Leary or Moors. 
Moors was the original — there was a time 
when he had been the only — opponent of the 
puppet king. Leary had driven him from the 

The Samoan Camps 185 

seat of government ; it was but a week or two 
since he had threatened to bombard him in his 
present refuge. Both were in close and daily 
council with his adversary, and it was no secret 
that Moors was supplying the latter with food. 
They were partizans ; it lacked but a hair that 
they should be called belligerents ; it were idle 
to try to deny they were the most dangerous 
of spies. And yet these two now sailed across 
the bay and landed inside the Tamasese lines 
at Salelesi. On the very beach they had an- 
other glimpse of the artlessness of Samoan war. 
Hitherto, the Tamasese fleet, being hardy and 
unencumbered, had made a fool of the huge 
floating forts upon the other side; and here they 
were toiling, not to produce another boat on 
their own pattern in which they had always 
enjoyed the advantage, but to make a new one 
the type of their enemies', of which they had 
now proved the uselessness for months. It 
came on to rain as the Americans landed ; and 
though none offered to oppose their coming 
ashore, none invited them to take shelter. They 

were nowise abashed, entered a house unbidden, 

and were made welcome with obvious reserve 

1 86 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

The rain clearing off, they set forth westward, 
deeper into the heart of the enemies' position. 
Three or four young men ran some way before 
them, doubtless to give warning ; and Leary, 
with his indomitable taste for mischief, kept 
inquiring as he went after " the high chief " 
Tamasese. The line of the beach was one 
continuous breastwork ; some thirty odd iron 
cannon of all sizes and patterns stood mounted 
in embrasures ; plenty grape and cannister lay 
ready ; and at every hundred yards or so, the 
German flag was flying. The numbers of the 
guns and flags I give as I received them, though 
they test my faith. At the house of Brandeis 
— a little, weatherboard house, crammed at the 
time with natives, men, women, and squalling 
children — Leary and Moors again asked for 
" the high chief," and were again assured that 
he was further on. A little beyond, the road 
ran in one place somewhat inland, the two 
Americans had gone down to the line of the 
beach to continue their inspection of the breast- 
work, when Brandeis himself, in his shirt 
sleeves and accompanied by several German 
officers, passed them by the line of the road. 

The Samoan Camps 187 

The two parties saluted in silence. Beyond 
Eva point, there was an observable change for 
the worse in the reception of the Americans; 
some whom they met began to mutter at Moors ; 
and the adventurers, with tardy but commend- 
able prudence, desisted from their search after 
the high chief, and began to retrace their 
steps. On the return, Suatele and some chiefs 
were drinking kava in a " big house," and called 
them in to join — their only invitation. But the 
night was closing, the rain had begun again : 
they stayed but for civility, and returned on 
board the Adams, wet and hungry, and I believe 
delighted with their expedition. It was per- 
haps the last, as it was certainly one of the 
most extreme examples of that divinity which 
once hedged the white in Samoa. The feeling 
was already different in the camp of Mataafa, 
where the safety of a German loiterer had been 
a matter of extreme concern. Ten days later, 
three commissioners, an Englishman, an Amer- 
ican, and a German, approached a post of Ma- 
taafas, were challenged by an old man with a 
gun, and mentioned in answer what they were. 
" Ifea Siamani? Which is the German ?" cried 

1 88 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

the old gentleman, dancing, and with his finger 
on the trigger; and the commissioners stood 
somewhile in a very anxious posture, till they 
were released by the opportune arrival of a 
chief. It was November the 27th when Leary 
and Moors completed their absurd excursion ; 
in about three weeks an event was to befall 
which changed at once, and probably forever, 
the relation of the natives and the whites. 

By the 28th Tamasese had collected seventeen 
hundred men in the trenches before Saluafata, 
thinking to attack next day. But the Mataafas 
evacuated the place in the night. At half-past 
five on the morning of the 29th, a signal gun was 
fired in the trenches at Laulii, and the Tamasese 
citadel was assaulted and defended with a fury 
new among Samoans. When the battle ended 
on the following day, one or more outworks re- 
mained in the possession of Mataafa. Another 
had been taken and lost as many as four times. 
Carried originally by a mixed force from Savaii 
and Tuamasanga, the victors, instead of com- 
pleting fresh defences or pursuing their advan- 
tage, fell to eat and smoke and celebrate their 
victory with impromptu songs. In this humour, 

The Samoan Camps 189 

a rally of the Tamaseses smote them, drove 
them out pell mell, and tumbled them into the 
ravine, where many broke their heads and legs. 
Again the work was taken, again lost. Ammu- 
nition failed the belligerents ; and they fought 
hand to hand in the contested fort with axes, 
clubs, and clubbed rifles. The sustained ardour 
of the engagement surprised even those who 
were engaged ; and the butcher's bill was 
counted extraordinary by Samoans. On De- 
cember 1st, the women of either side collected 
the headless bodies of the dead, each easily 
identified by the name tattooed on his forearm. 
Mataafa is thought to have lost sixty killed; 
and the de Coetlogons' hospital received three 
women and forty men. The casualities on the 
Tamasese side cannot be accepted, but they 
were presumably much less. 

190 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 



Ncvember-Decembcr 1 888 

For Becker I have not been able to conceal 
my distaste, for he seems to me both false and 
foolish. But of his successor, the unfortunately 
famous Dr. Knappe, we may think as of a 
good enough fellow driven distraught. Fond 
of Samoa and the Samoans, he thought to bring 
peace and enjoy popularity among the island- 
ers ; of a genial, amiable, and sanguine temper, 
he made no doubt but he could repair the breach 
with the English consul. Hope told a flattering 
tale. He awoke to find himself exchanging de- 
fiances with de Coetlogon, beaten in the field by 
Mataafa, surrounded on the spot by general 
exasperation, and disowned from home by his 
own government. The history of his adminis- 
tration leaves on the mind of the student a sen- 
timent of pity scarcely mingled. 

Affairs of Laulii and Fangalii 1 9 1 

On Blacklock he did not call, and, in view 
of Leary's attitude, may be excused. But the 
English consul was in a different category. 
England, weary of the name of Samoa and 
desirous only to see peace established, was pre- 
pared to wink hard during the process and to 
welcome the result of any German settlement. 
It was an unpardonable fault in Becker to have 
kicked and buffeted his ready-made allies into a 
state of jealousy, anger, and suspicion. Knappe 
set himself at once to efface these impressions, 
and the English officials rejoiced for the mo- 
ment in the change. Between Knappe and de 
Coetlogon there seems to have been mutual 
sympathy ; and, in considering the steps by 
which they were led at last into an attitude of 
mutual defiance, it must be remembered that 
both the men were sick, — Knappe from time to 
time prostrated with that formidable complaint, 
New Guinea fever, and de Coetlogon through- 
out his whole stay in the islands continually 

Tamasese was still to be recognised and, if 
possible, supported : such was the German pol- 
icy. Two days after his arrival, accordingly, 

192 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

Knappe addressed to Mataafa a threatening 
despatch. The German plantation was suffer- 
ing from the proximity of his " war-party." He 
must withdraw from Laulii at once, and, whither- 
soever he went, he must approach no German 
property nor so much as any village where there 
was a German trader. By five o'clock on the 
morrow, if he were not gone, Knappe would 
turn upon him "the attention of the man-of- 
war " and inflict a fine. The same evening, 
November 14th, Knappe went on board the 
Adler % which began to get up steam. 

Three months before, such direct intervention 
on the part of Germany would have passed 
almost without protest ; but the hour was now 
gone by. Becker's conduct, equally timid and 
rash, equally inconclusive and offensive, had 
forced the other nations into a strong feeling of 
common interest with Mataafa. Ev^n had the 
German demands been moderate, de Coetlogon 
could not have forgotten the night of the tau- 
miialua, nor how Mataafa had relinquished, at 
his request, the attack upon the German quar- 
ter. Blacklock, with his driver of a captain at 
his elbow, was not likely to lag behind. And 

Affairs of Laulii and Fangalii 1 93 

Mataafa having communicated Knappe's letter, 
the example of the Germans was on all hands 
exactly followed ; the consuls hastened on board 
their respective war-ships, and these began to 
get up steam. About midnight, in a pouring 
rain, Pelly communicated to Fritze his intention 
to follow him and protect British interests ; and 
Knappe replied that he would come on board 
the Lizard and see de Coetlogon personally. 
It was deep in the small hours, and de Coetlo- 
gon had been long asleep, when he was wak- 
ened to receive his colleague ; but he started up 
with an old soldier's readiness. The conference 
was long. De Coetlogon protested, as he did 
afterwards in writing, against Knappe's claim : 
the Samoans were in a state of war ; they had 
territorial rights; it was monstrous to prevent 
them from entering one of their own villages 
because a German trader kept the store ; and in 
case property suffered, a claim for compensa- 
tion was the proper remedy. Knappe argued 
that this was a question between Germans and 
Samoans, in which de Coetlogon had nothing to 
see ; and that he must protect German property 
according to his instructions. To which de 

194 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

Coetlogon replied that he was himself in the 
same attitude to the property of the British ; 
that he understood Knappe to be intending 
hostilities against Laulii ; that Laulii was mort- 
gaged to the Macarthurs ; that its crops were 
accordingly British property ; and that, while 
he was ever willing to recognise the territorial 
rights of the Samoans, he must prevent that 
property from being molested " by any other 
nation." " But if a German man-of-war does 
it?" asked Knappe. — "We shall prevent it to 
the best of our ability," replied the colonel. It 
is to the credit of both men that this trying 
interview should have been conducted and con- 
cluded without heat ; but Knappe must have 
returned to the Adler with darker anticipations. 
At sunrise on the morning of the 15th, the 
three ships, each loaded with its consul, put to 
sea. It is hard to exaggerate the peril of the 
forenoon that followed, as they lay off Laulii. 
Nobody desired a collision, save perhaps the 
reckless Leary ; but peace and war trembled in 
the balance ; and when the Adler, at one period, 
lowered her gun ports, war appeared to pre- 
ponderate. It proved, however, to be a last — 

Affairs of Laulii and Fangalii 195 

and therefore surely an unwise — extremity. 
Knappe contented himself with visiting the 
rival kings, and the three ships returned to 
Apia before noon. Beyond a doubt, coming 
after Knappe's decisive letter of the day be- 
fore, this impotent conclusion shook the credit 
of Germany among the natives of both sides : 
the Tamaseses fearing they were deserted, the 
Mataafas (with secret delight) hoping they were 
feared. And it gave an impetus to that ridicu- 
lous business which might have earned for the 
whole episode the name of the war of flags. 
British and American flags had been planted 
the night before, and were seen that morning 
Jying over what they claimed about Laulii. 
British and American passengers, on the way 
up and down, pointed out from the decks of 
the war-ships, with generous vagueness, the 
boundaries of problematical estates. Ten days 
later, the beach of Saluafata bay fluttered (as I 
have told in the last chapter) with the flag of 
Germany. The Americans riposted with a 
claim to Tamasese's camp, some small part of 
which (says Knappe) did really belong to " an 
American nigger." The disease spread, the 

196 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

flags were multiplied, the operations of war be- 
came an egg-dance among miniature neutral 
territories ; and though all men took a hand in 
these proceedings, all men in turn were struck 
with their absurdity. Mullan, Leary's succes- 
sor, warned Knappe, in an emphatic despatch, 
not to squander and discredit the solemnity of 
that emblem which was all he had to be a de- 
fence to his own consulate. And Knappe him- 
self, in his despatch of March 21st, 1889, casti- 
gates the practice with much sense. But this 
was after the tragi-comic culmination had been 
reached, and the burnt rags of one of these too- 
frequently mendacious signals gone on a prog- 
ress to Washington, like Caesar's body, arousing 
indignation where it came. To such results are 
nations conducted by the patent artifices of a 

The discussion of the morning, the silent 
menace and defiance of the voyage to Laulii, 
might have set the best-natured by the ears. 
But Knappe and de Coetlogon took their dif- 
ference in excellent part. On the morrow, 
November 16th, they sat down together with 
Blacklock in conference. The English consul 

Affairs of Laulii and Fangalii 1 97 

introduced his colleagues, who shook hands. 
If Knappe were dead-weighted with the inheri- 
tance of Becker, Blacklock was handicapped by 
reminiscences of Leary ; it is the more to the 
credit of this inexperienced man that he should 
have maintained in the future so excellent an 
attitude of firmness and moderation, and that 
when the crash came, Knappe and de Coet- 
logon, not Knappe and Blacklock, were found 
to be the protagonists of the drama. The con- 
ference was futile. The English and American 
consuls admitted but one cure of the evils of 
the time : that the farce of the Tamasese mon- 
archy should cease. It was one which the 
German refused to consider. And the agents 
separated without reaching any result, save that 
diplomatic relations had been restored between 
the States and Germany, and that all three 
were convinced of their fundamental differ- 

Knappe and de Coetlogon were still friends ; 
they had disputed and differed and come within 
a finger's breadth of war, and they were still 
friends. But an event was at hand which was 
to separate them forever. On December 4th 

198 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

came the Royalist, Captain Hand, to relieve the 
Lizard. Pelly of course had to take his can- 
vas from the consulate hospital ; but he had in 
charge certain awnings belonging to the Royal- 
ist, and with these they made shift to cover the 
wounded, at that time (after the fight at Laulii) 
more than usually numerous. A lieutenant 
came to the consulate, and delivered (as I have 
received it) the following message : " Captain 
Hand's compliments, and he says you must get 
rid of these niggers at once, and he will help 
you to do it." Doubtless the reply was no 
more civil than the message. The promised 
" help," at least, followed promptly. A boat's 
crew landed and the awnings were stripped 
from the wounded, Hand himself standing on 
the colonel's verandah to direct operations. 
It were fruitless to discuss this passage from 
the humanitarian point of view, or from that 
of formal courtesy. The mind of the new cap- 
tain was plainly not directed to these objects. 
But it is understood that he considered the 
existence of the hospital a source of irritation 
to Germans and a fault in policy. His own 
rude act proved in the result far more impolitic. 

Affairs of Laulii and Fangalii 1 99 

The hospital had now been open some two 
months, and de Coetlogon was still on friendly 
terms with Knappe, and he and his wife were 
engaged to dine with him that day. By the 
morrow that was practically ended. For the 
rape of the awnings had two results : one, which 
was the fault of de Coetlogon, not at all of 
Hand, who could not have foreseen it; the 
other which it was his duty to have seen and 
prevented. The first was this : the de Coet- 
logons found themselves left with their wounded 
exposed to the inclemencies of the season ; they 
must all be transported to the house and veran- 
dah ; in the distress and pressure of this task, 
the dinner engagement was too long forgotten ; 
and a note of excuse did not reach the German 
consulate before the table was set, and Knappe 
dressed to receive his visitors. The second con- 
sequence was inevitable. Captain Hand was 
scarce landed ere it became public (was " sofort 
bekannt" writes Knappe) that he and the con- 
sul were in opposition. All that had been 
gained by the demonstration at Laulii was thus 
immediately cast away ; de Coetlogon's pres- 
tige was lessened ; and it must be said plainly 

200 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

that Hand did less than nothing to restore it. 
Twice indeed he interfered, both times with 
success ; and once, when his own person had 
been endangered, with vehemence ; but during 
all the strange doings I have to narrate, he 
remained in close intimacy with the German 
consulate, and on one occasion may be said 
to have acted as its marshal. After the worst 
is over, after Bismarck has told Knappe that 
"the protests of his English colleague were 
grounded," that his own conduct " has not been 
good," and that in any dispute which may arise 
he " will find himself in the wrong," Knappe 
can still plead in his defence that Captain Hand 
" has always maintained friendly intercourse 
with the German authorities." Singular epitaph 
for an English sailor. In this complicity on 
the part of Hand, we may find the reason — 
and I had almost said, the excuse — of much 
that was excessive in the bearing of the unfor- 
tunate Knappe. 

On the nth December, Mataafa received 
twenty-eight thousand cartridges, brought into 
the country in salt beef kegs by the British ship 
Richmond. This not only sharpened the ani- 

Affairs of Laulii and Fangalii 201 

mosity between whites : following so closely on 
the German fizzle at Laulii, it raised a convul- 
sion in the camp of Tamasese. On the 13th, 
Brandeis addressed to Knappe his famous and 
fatal letter. I may not describe it as a letter 
of burning words, but it is plainly dictated by 
a burning heart. Tamasese and his chiefs, he 
announces, are now sick of the business and 
ready to make peace with Mataafa. They 
began the war relying upon German help ; they 
now see and say that " e faaalo Siamani i Peri- 
tania ma America, that Germany is subservient 
to England and the States." It is grimly 
given to be understood that the despatch is an 
ultimatum, and a last chance is being offered 
for the recreant ally to fulfil her pledge. To 
make it the more plain, the document goes on 
with a kind of bilious irony : " The two German 
war-ships now in Samoa are here for the pro- 
tection of German property alone; and when 
the Olga shall have arrived " [she arrived on 
the morrow] " the German war-ships will con- 
tinue to do against the insurgents precisely as 
little as they have done heretofore." Plant 
flags, in fact. 

202 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

Here was Knappe's opportunity, could he 
have stooped to seize it. I find it difficult to 
blame him that he could not. Far from so 
inglorious as the treachery once contemplated 
by Becker, the acceptance of this ultimatum 
would have been still in the nature of a dis- 
grace. Brandeis's letter, written by a German, 
was hard to swallow. It would have been hard 
to accept that solution which Knappe had so 
recently and so peremptorily refused to his 
brother consuls. And he was tempted, on the 
other hand, by recent changes. There was no 
Pelly to support de Coetlogon, who might now 
be disregarded. Mullan, Leary's successor, even 
if he were not precisely a Hand, was at least no 
Leary ; and even if Mullan should show fight, 
Knappe had now three ships and could defy or 
sink him without danger. Many small circum- 
stances moved him in the same direction. The 
looting of German plantations continued ; the 
whole force of Mataafa was to a large extent 
subsisted from the crops of Vailele ; and armed 
men were to be seen openly plundering bananas, 
breadfruit, and cocoanuts under the walls of the 
plantation building. On the night of the 13th, 

Affairs of Laulii and Fangalii 203 

the consulate stable had been broken into and a 
horse removed. On the 16th, there was a riot 
in Apia between half-castes and sailors from the 
new ship Olga, each side claiming that the other 
was the worse of drink, both (for a wager) justly. 
The multiplication of flags and little neutral ter- 
ritories had, besides, begun to irritate the Samo- 
ans. The protests of German settlers had been 
received uncivilly. On the 16th, the Mataafas 
had again sought to land in Saluafata bay, with 
the manifest intention to attack the Tamaseses, 
or (in other words) "to trespass on German 
lands, covered, as your excellency knows, with 
flags." I quote from his requisition to Fritze, 
December 17th. Upon all these considerations, 
he goes on, it is necessary to bring the fighting 
to an end. Both parties are to be disarmed and 
returned to their villages — Mataafa first. And 
in case of any attempt upon Apia, the roads 
thither are to be held by a strong landing 
party. Mataafa was to be disarmed first, per- 
haps rightly enough in his character of the last 
insurgent. Then was to have come the turn of 
Tamasese ; but it does not appear the disarming 
would have had the same import or have been 

204 EigJit } 'cars of Trouble hi Samoa 

gone about in the same way. Germany was 
bound to Tamasese. No honest man would 
dream of blaming Knappe because he sought to 
redeem his country's word. The path he chose 
was doubtless that of honour, so far as honour 
was still left. But it proved to be the road to 

Fritze, ranking German officer, is understood, 
to have opposed the measure. His attitude 
earned him at the time unpopularity among his 
country-people on the spot, and should now 
redound to his credit. It is to be hoped he 
extended his opposition to some of the details. 
If it were possible to disarm Mataafa at all, it 
must be done rather by prestige than force. A 
party of blue-jackets landed in Samoan bush, 
and expected to hold against Samoans a multi- 
plicity of forest paths, had their work cut out 
for them. And it was plain they should be 
landed in the light of day, with a discouraging 
openness and even with parade. To sneak 
ashore by night was to increase the danger of 
resistance and to minimise the authority of the 
attack. The thing was a bluff, and it is impos- 
sible to bluff with stealth. Yet this was what 

Affairs of Laulii and Fangalii 205 

was tried. A landing-party was to leave the 
Olga in Apia bay at two in the morning ; the 
landing was to be at four on two parts of 
the foreshore of Vailele. At eight they were 
to be joined by a second landing-party from the 
Eber. By nine the Olgas were to be on the 
crest of Letongo Mountain, and the Ebers to be 
moving round the promontory by the seaward 
paths, " with measures of precaution," disarm- 
ing all whom they encountered. There was 
to be no firing unless fired upon. At the ap- 
pointed hour (or perhaps later) on the morning 
of the 19th, this unpromising business was put 
in hand, and there moved off from the Olga two 
boats with some fifty blue-jackets between them, 
and a praam or punt containing ninety, — the 
boats and the whole expedition under the com- 
mand of Captain-Lieutenant Jaeckel, the praam 
under Lieutenant Spengler. The men had each 
forty rounds, one day's provisions, and their 
flasks filled. 

In the meanwhile, Mataafa sympathisers 
about Apia were on the alert. Knappe had 
informed the consuls that the ships were to put 
to sea next day for the protection of German 

206 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

property ; but the Tamaseses had been less 
discreet. " To-morrow at the hour of seven," 
they had cried to their adversaries, " you will 
know of a difficulty, and our guns shall be 
made good in broken bones." And accident 
had pointed expectation towards Apia. The 
wife of Le Mamea washed for the German 
ships — a perquisite, I suppose, for her hus- 
band's unwilling fidelity. She sent a man with 
linen on board the Adlcr y where he was sur- 
prised to see Le Mamea in person, and to be 
himself ordered instantly on shore. The news 
spread. If Mamea were brought down from 
Lotoanuu, others might have come at the same 
time. Tamasese himself and half his army 
might perhaps lie concealed on board the Ger- 
man ships. And a watch was accordingly set 
and warriors collected along the line of the shore. 
One detachment lay in some rifle-pits by the 
mouth of the Fuisa. They were commanded 
by Seumanu ; and with this party, probably as 
the most contiguous to Apia, was the war-corre- 
spondent, John Klein. Of English birth, but 
naturalised American, this gentleman had been 
for some time representing the New York 

Affairs of Laulii and Fangalii 207 

World in a very effective manner, always in the 
front, living in the field with the Samoans, and 
in all vicissitudes of weather, toiling to and 
fro with his despatches. His wisdom was per- 
haps not equal to his energy. He made him- 
self conspicuous, going about armed to the 
teeth in a boat under the stars and stripes ; and 
on one occasion, when he supposed himself 
fired upon by the Tamaseses, had the petulance 
to empty his revolver in the direction of their 
camp. By the light of the moon, which was 
then nearly down, this party observed the 
OlgcCs two boats and the praam, which they 
describe as " almost sinking with men," the 
boats keeping well out towards the reef, the 
praam at the moment apparently heading for 
the shore. An extreme agitation seems to have 
reigned in the rifle-pits. What were the new- 
comers ? What was their errand ? Were they 
Germans or Tamaseses ? Had they a mind to 
attack ? The praam was hailed in Samoan and 
did not answer. It was proposed to fire upon 
her ere she draw near. And at last, whether 
on hi? own suggestion or that of Seumanu, 
Klein hailed her in English, and in terms of 

2o8 Eight Years of Troiiblc i)i Samoa 

unnecessary melodrama. " Do not try to land 
here," he cried. " If you do, your blood will 
be upon your head." Spengler, who had never 
the least intention to touch at the Fuisa, put 
up the head of the praam to her true course and 
continued to move up the lagoon with an offing 
of some seventy or eighty yards. Along all 
the irregularities and obstructions of the beach, 
across the mouth of the Vaivasa, and through 
the startled village of Matafangatele, Seu- 
manu, Klein, and seven or eight others raced 
to keep up, spreading the alarm and rousing 
re-enforcements as they went. Presently a man 
on horseback made his appearance on the oppo- 
site beach of Fangalii. Klein and the natives 
distinctly saw him signal with a lantern ; which 
is the more strange, as the horseman (Captain 
Hufnagel, plantation manager of Vailele) had 
never a lantern to signal w r ith. The praam 
kept in. Many men in white were seen to 
stand up, step overboard, and wade to shore. 
At the same time the eye of panic descried a 
breastwork of " foreign stones " (brick) upon 
the beach. Samoans are prepared to-c'ay to 
swear to its existence, I believe conscientiously, 

Affairs of Laulii and Fangalii 209 

although no such thing was ever made or ever 
intended in that place. The hour is doubtful. 
" It was the hour when the streak of dawn is 
seen, the hour known in the warfare of heathen 
times as the hour of the night attack," says 
the Mataafa official account. A native whom I 
met on the field declared it was at cockcrow. 
Captain Hufnagel, on the other hand, is sure 
it was long before the day. It was dark at 
least, and the moon down. Darkness made the 
Samoans bold ; uncertainty as to the composi- 
tion and purpose of the landing party made 
them desperate. Fire was opened on the Ger- 
mans, one of whom was here killed. The Ger- 
mans returned it and effected a lodgement on 
the beach ; and the skirmish died again to 
silence. It was at this time, if not earlier, that 
Klein returned to Apia. 

Here, then, were Spengler and the ninety 
men of the praam, landed on the beach in no 
very enviable posture, the woods in front filled 
with unnumbered enemies, but for the time suc- 
cessful. Meanwhile, Jaeckel and the boats had 
gone outside the reef, and were to land on the 
other side of the Vailele promontory, at Sunga, 

210 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

by the buildings of the plantation. It was Huf- 
nagel's part to go and meet them. His way 
led straight into the woods and through the 
midst of the Samoans, who had but now ceased 
firing. He went in the saddle and at a foot's 
pace, feeling speed and concealment to be 
equally helpless, and that if he were to fall at 
all, he had best fall with dignity. Not a shot 
was fired at him ; no effort made to arrest him 
on his errand. As he went, he spoke and even 
jested with the Samoans, and they answered in 
good part. One fellow was leaping, yelling, 
and tossing his axe in the air, after the way of 
an excited islander. " Faimalosi ! go it!" said 
Hufnagel, and the fellow laughed and re- 
doubled his exertions. As soon as the boats 
entered the lagoon, fire was again opened from 
the woods. The fifty blue-jackets jumped over- 
board, hove down the boats to be a shield, and 
dragged them towards the landing-place. In 
this way, their rations, and (what was more 
unfortunate) some of their miserable provision 
of forty rounds got wetted ; but the men came 
to shore and garrisoned the plantation house 
without a casualty. Meanwhile the sound of 

Affairs of Laulii and Fangalii 2 1 1 

the firing from Sunga immediately renewed the 
hostilities at Fangalii. The civilians on shore 
decided that Spengler must be at once guided to 
the house, and Haideln, the surveyor, accepted 
the dangerous errand. Like Hufnagel, he was 
suffered to pass without question through the 
midst of these platonic enemies. He found 
Spengler some way inland on a knoll, disas- 
trously engaged, the woods around him filled 
with Samoans, who were continuously re-en- 
forced. In three successive charges, cheering 
as they ran, the blue-jackets burst through their 
scattered opponents, and made good their junc- 
tion with Jaeckel. Four men only remained 
upon the field, the other wounded being helped 
by their comrades or dragging themselves pain- 
fully along. 

The force was now concentrated in the house 
and its immediate patch of garden. Their rear, 
to the seaward, was unmolested ; but on three 
sides they were beleaguered. On the left, the 
Samoans occupied and fired from some of the 
plantation offices. In front, a long rising crest 
of land in the horsepasture commanded the 
house, and was lined with the assailants. And 

2 1 2 Eight Years of Trouble in Sa?noa 

on the right, the hedge of the same paddock 
afforded them a dangerous cover. It was in 
this place that a Samoan sharp-shooter was 
knocked over by Jaeckel with his own hand. 
The fire was maintained by the Samoans in the 
usual wasteful style. The roof was made a 
sieve ; the balls passed clean through the 
house ; Lieutenant Sieger, as he lay, already 
dying, on Hufnagel's bed, was despatched with 
a fresh wound. The Samoans showed them- 
selves extremely enterprising: pushed their 
lines forward, ventured beyond cover, and con- 
tinually threatened to envelop the garden. 
Thrice, at least, it was necessary to repel them 
by a sally. The men were brought into the 
house from the rear, the front doors were 
thrown suddenly open, and the gallant blue- 
jackets issued cheering : necessary, successful, 
but extremely costly sorties. Neither could 
these be pushed far. The foes were undaunted; 
so soon as the sailors advanced at all deep in 
the horsepasture, the Samoans began to close 
in upon both flanks ; and the sally had to be 
recalled. To add to the dangers of the Ger- 
man situation, ammunition began to run low; 

Affairs of Laulii and Fangalii 2 1 3 

and the cartridge-boxes of the wounded and the 
dead had been already brought in use before, 
at about eight o'clock, the Eber steamed into 
the bay. Her commander, Wallis, threw some 
shells into Letongo, one of which killed five men 
about their cooking-pot. The Samoans began 
immediately to withdraw ; their movements 
were hastened by a sortie, and the remains of 
the landing-party brought on board. This was 
an unfortunate movement; it gave an irreme- 
diable air of defeat to what might have been 
else claimed for a moderate success. The blue- 
jackets numbered a hundred and forty all told ; 
they were engaged separately and fought under 
the worst conditions, in the dark and among 
woods; their position in the house was scarce 
tenable ; they lost in killed and wounded fifty- 
six, — forty per cent ; and their spirit to the end 
was above question. Whether we think of the 
poor sailor lads, always so pleasantly behaved 
in times of peace, or whether we call to mind 
the behaviour of the two civilians, Haideln and 
Hufnagel, we can only regret that brave men 
should stand to be exposed upon so poor a 
quarrel, or lives cast away upon an enterprise 
so hopeless. 

214 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

News of the affair reached Apia early, and 
Moors, always curious of these spectacles of 
war, was immediately in the saddle. Near 
Matafangatele, he met a Manono chief, whom 
he asked if there were any German dead. " I 
think there are about thirty of them knocked 
over," said he. — "Have you taken their 
heads ? " asked Moors. — " Yes," said the chief. 
" Some foolish people did it, but I have stopped 
them. We ought not to cut off their heads 
when they do not cut off ours." He was asked 
what had been done with the heads. "Two 
have gone to Mataafa," he replied, " and one is 
buried right under where your horse is standing, 
in a basket wrapped in tapa." This was after- 
wards dug up, and I am told on native authority 
that, besides the three heads, two ears were 
taken. Moors next asked the Manono man how 
he came to be going away. " The man-of-war is 
throwing shells," said he. " When they stopped 
firing out of the house, we stopped firing also ; 
so it was as well to scatter when the shells 
began. We could have killed all the white men. 
I wish they had been Tamaseses." This is an 
ex parte statement, and I give it for such ; but 

Affairs of Laulii and Fangalii 2 1 5 

the course of the affair, and in particular the 
adventures of Haideln and Hufnagel, testify to 
a surprising lack of animosity against the Ger- 
mans. About the same time or but a little ear- 
lier than this conversation, the same spirit was 
being displayed. Hufnagel, with a party of 
labour, had gone out to bring in the German 
dead, when he was surprised to be suddenly 
fired on from the wood. The boys he had with 
him were not negritos, but Polynesians from 
the Gilbert Islands ; and he suddenly remem- 
bered that these might be easily mistaken for a 
detachment of Tamaseses. Bidding his boys 
conceal themselves in a thicket, this brave 
man walked into the open. So soon as he 
was recognised, the firing ceased, and the 
labourers followed him in safety. This is chiv- 
alrous war; but there was a side to it less 
chivalrous. As Moors drew nearer to Vailele, 
he began to meet Samoans with hats, guns, 
and even shirts taken from the German sailors. 
With one of these who had a hat and a gun, 
he stopped and spoke. The hat was handed 
up for him to look at ; it had the late owner's 
name on the inside. " Where is he ? " asked 

216 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

Moors. — " He is dead ; I cut his head off." — 
"You shot him?" — "No, somebody else shot 
him in the hip. When I came, he put up his 
hands, and cried : ' Don't kill me ; I am a Malie- 
toa man.' I did not believe him, and I cut his 
head off." — " Have you any ammunition to fit 
that gun ? " — " I do not know." — " What has 
become of the cartridge belt ? " — " Another 
fellow grabbed that and the cartridges, and 
he won't give them to me." A dreadful and 
silly picture of barbaric war. The words of the 
German sailor must be regarded as imaginary : 
how was the poor lad to speak native, or the 
Samoan to understand German ? When Moors 
came as far as Sunga, the Ebcr was yet in the 
bay, the smoke of battle still lingered among 
the trees, which were themselves marked with a 
thousand bullet-wounds. But the affair was 
over, the combatants, German and Samoan, 
were all gone, and only a couple of negrito 
labour boys lurked on the scene. The village 
of Letongo beyond was equally silent ; part of it 
was wrecked by the shells of the Eber, and still 
smoked ; the inhabitants had fled. On the 
beach were the native boats, perhaps five thou* 

Affairs of Laulii and Fangalii 2 1 7 

sand dollars' worth, deserted by the Mataafas 
and overlooked by the Germans, in their com- 
mon hurry to escape. Still Moors held eastward 
by the sea-paths. It was his hope to get a view 
from the other side of the promontory, towards 
Laulii. In the way he found a house hidden in 
the wood and among rocks, where an aged and 
sick woman was being tended by her elderly 
daughter. Last lingerers in that deserted piece 
of coast, they seemed indifferent to the events 
which had thus left them solitary, and, as the 
daughter said, did not know where Mataafa 
was, nor where Tamasese. 

It is the official Samoan pretension that the 
Germans fired first at Fangalii. In view of all 
German and some native testimony, the text 
of Fritze's orders, and the probabilities of the 
case, no honest mind will believe it for a mo- 
ment. Certainly the Samoans fired first. As 
certainly they were betrayed into the engage- 
ment in the agitation of the moment, and it was 
not till afterwards that they understood what 
they had done. Then, indeed, all Samoa drew 
a breath of wonder and delight. The invin- 
cible had fallen ; the men of the vaunted war- 

2i8 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

ships had been met in the field by the braves 
of Mataafa : a superstition was no more. Con- 
ceive this people steadily as schoolboys; and 
conceive the elation in any school if the head 
boy should suddenly arise and drive the rector 
from the schoolhouse. I have received one 
instance of the feeling instantly aroused. There 
lay at the time in the consular hospital an old 
chief who was a pet of the colonel's. News 
reached him of the glorious event ; he was sick, 
he thought himself sinking, sent for the colonel, 
and gave him his gun. " Don't let the Ger- 
mans get it," said the old gentleman, and hav- 
ing received a promise, was at peace. 

" Furor Consularis " 219 


Dece?)iber 1888 to March 1889 

Knappe, in the Adler, with a flag of truce at 
the fore, was entering Laulii Bay when the Ebet 
brought him the news of the night's reverse. 
His heart was doubtless wrung for his young 
countrymen who had been butchered and muti- 
lated in the dark woods, or now lay suffering 
and some of them dying on the ship. And he 
must have been startled as he recognised his 
own position. He had gone too far; he had 
stumbled into war and, what was worse, into 
defeat; he had thrown away German lives 
for less than nothing, and now saw himself 
condemned either to accept defeat, or to kick 
and pummel his failure into something like 
success ; either to accept defeat, or take frenzy 
for a counsellor. Yesterday, in cold blood, he 
had judged it necessary to have the woods to 

220 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

the westward guarded lest the evacuation of 
Laulii should prove only the peril of Apia. 
To-day, in the irritation and alarm of failure, 
he forgot or despised his previous reasoning, 
and, though his detachment was beat back to 
the ships, proceeded with the remainder of his 
maimed design. The only change he made was 
to hand down the flag of truce. He had now no 
wish to meet with Mataafa. Words were out 
of season, shells must speak. 

At this moment an incident befell him which 
must have been trying to his self-command. 
The new American ship Nipsic entered Laulii 
Bay ; her commander, Mullan, boarded the 
Adler to protest, succeeded in wresting from 
Knappe a period of delay in order that the 
women might be spared, and sent a lieutenant 
to Mataafa with a warning. The camp was 
already excited by the news and the trophies 
of Fangalii. Already Tamasese and Lotoanuu 
seemed secondary objectives to the Germans 
and Apia. Mullan's message set an end to 
hesitation. Laulii was evacuated. The troops 
streamed westward by the mountain side, and 
took up the same day a strong position about 

11 Furor Consularis " 221 

Tanungamanono and Mangiangi, some two miles 
behind Apia, which they threatened with the 
one hand, while with the other they continued 
to draw their supplies from the devoted planta- 
tions of the German firm. Laulii, when it was 
shelled, was empty. The British flags were of 
course fired upon ; and I hear that one of them 
was struck down, but I think every one must be 
privately of the mind that it was fired upon and 
fell, in a place where it had little business to be 

Such was the military epilogue to the ill- 
judged adventure of Fangalii; it was difficult 
for failure to be more complete. But the other 
consequences were of a darker colour and 
brought the whites immediately face to face 
in a spirit of ill-favoured animosity. Knappe 
was mourning the defeat and death of his coun- 
tryfolk, he was standing aghast over the ruin 
of his own career, when Mullan boarded him. 
The successor of Leary served himself, in that 
bitter moment, heir to Leary's part. And in 
Mullan, Knappe saw more even than the suc- 
cessor of Leary, — he saw in him the repre- 
sentative of Klein. Klein had hailed the 

222 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

praam from the rifle-pits ; he had there uttered 
ill-chosen words, unhappily prophetic ; it is even 
likely that he was present at the time of the 
first fire. To accuse him of the design and 
conduct of the whole attack was but a step 
forward ; his own vapouring served to corrobo- 
rate the accusation ; and it was not long before 
the German consulate was in possession of 
sworn native testimony in support. The worth 
of native testimony is small, the worth of white 
testimony not overwhelming ; and I am in the 
painful position of not being able to subscribe 
either to Klein's own account of the affair or 
to that of his accusers. Klein was extremely 
flurried ; his interest as a reporter must have 
tempted him at first to make the most of his 
share in the exploit, the immediate peril in 
which he soon found himself to stand must 
have at least suggested to him the idea of 
minimising it ; one way and another, he is not 
a good witness. As for the natives, they were 
no doubt cross-examined in that hall of terror, 
the German consulate, where they might be 
trusted to lie like schoolboys, or (if the reader 
prefer it) like Samoans. By outside white tes- 

' ' Furor Consu laris " 2 2 J 

timony, it remains established for me that Klein 
returned to Apia either before or immediately 
after the first shots. That he ever sought or 
was ever allowed a share in the command may be 
denied peremptorily ; but it is more than likely 
that he expressed himself in an excited manner 
and with a highly inflammatory effect upon his 
hearers. He was, at least, severely punished. 
The Germans, enraged by his provocative be- 
haviour and what they thought to be his Ger- 
man birth, demanded him to be tried before 
court-martial ; he had to skulk inside the sentries 
of the American consulate, to be smuggled on 
board a war-ship, and to be carried almost by 
stealth out of the island; and what with the 
agitations of his mind, and the results of a 
marsh fever contracted in the lines of Mataafa, 
reached Honolulu a very proper object of com- 
miseration. Nor was Klein the only accused : 
de Coetlogon was himself involved. As the 
boats passed Matautu, Knappe declares a signal 
was made from the British consulate. Perhaps 
we should rather read " from its neighbour- 
hood " ; since, in the general warding of the 
coast, the point of Matautu could scarce have 

224 Eight Years of Trouble i)i Samoa 

been neglected. On the other hand, there is 
no doubt that the Samoans, in the anxiety of 
that night of watching and fighting, crowded 
to the friendly consul for advice. Late in the 
night, the wounded Siteoni, lying on the colo- 
nel's verandah, one corner of which had been 
blinded down that he might sleep, heard the 
coming and going of bare feet and the voices 
of eager consultation. And long after, a man 
who had been discharged from the colonel's 
employment took upon himself to swear an 
affidavit as to the nature of the advice then 
given, and to carry the document to the Ger- 
man consul. It was an act of private revenge ; 
it fell long out of date in the good days of Dr. 
Stuebel, and had no result but to discredit the 
gentleman who volunteered it. Colonel de 
Coetlogon had his faults, but they did not touch 
his honour; his bare word would always out- 
weigh a waggonload of such denunciations ; 
and he declares his behaviour on that night to 
have been blameless. The question was besides 
inquired into on the spot by Sir John Thurston, 
and the colonel honourably acquitted. But dur- 
ing the weeks that were now to follow, Knappe 

1 ' Furor Consularis " 225 

believed the contrary ; he believed not only that 
Moors and others had supplied the ammunition 
and Klein commanded in the field, but that de 
Coetlogon had made the signal of attack ; that 
though his blue-jackets had bled and fallen 
against the arms of Samoans, these were sup- 
plied, inspired, and marshalled by Americans 
and English. 

The legend was the more easily believed 
because it embraced and was founded upon so 
much truth. Germans lay dead, the German 
wounded groaned in their cots; and the car- 
tridges by which they fell had been sold by 
an American and brought into the country in 
a British bottom. Had the transaction been 
entirely mercenary, it would already have been 
hard to swallow ; but it was notoriously not so. 
British and Americans were notoriously the 
partizans of Mataafa. They rejoiced in the 
result of Fangalii, and so far from seeking to 
conceal their rejoicing, paraded and displayed 
it. Calumny ran high. Before the dead were 
buried, while the wounded yet lay in pain and 
fever, cowardly accusations of cowardice were 
levelled at the German blue-jackets. It was 

226 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

said they had broken and run before their 
enemies, and that they had huddled helpless 
like sheep in the plantation house. Small 
wonder if they had ; small wonder had they 
been utterly destroyed. But the fact was hero- 
ically otherwise ; and these dastard calumnies 
cut to the blood. They are not forgotten ; per- 
haps they will never be forgiven. 

In the meanwhile, events were pressing 
towards a still more trenchant opposition. On 
the 20th, the three consuls met and parted with- 
out agreement, Knappe announcing that he 
had lost men and must take the matter in his 
own hands to avenge their death. On the 21st, 
the Olga came before Matafangatele, ordered 
the delivery of all arms within the hour, and 
at the end of that period, none being brought, 
shelled and burned the village. The shells fell 
for the most part innocuous ; an eyewitness saw 
children at play beside the flaming houses ; not 
a soul was injured; and the one noteworthy 
event was the mutilation of Captain Hamilton's 
American flag. In one sense an incident too 
small to be chronicled, in another this was of 
historic interest and import. These rags of 

" Fttror Consularis" 227 

tattered bunting occasioned the display of a 
new sentiment in the United States ; and the 
republic of the west, hitherto so apathetic and 
unwieldy, but already stung by German non- 
chalance, leaped to its feet for the first time at 
the news of this fresh insult. As though to 
make the inefficacy of the war-ships more ap- 
parent, three shells were thrown inland at Man- 
giangi ; they flew high over the Mataafa camp, 
where the natives could " hear them singing " 
as they flew, and fell behind in the deep 
romantic valley of the Vaisingano. Mataafa 
had been already summoned on board the 
Adlcr ; his life promised if he came, declared 
"in danger" if he came not; and he had de- 
clined in silence the unattractive invitation. 
These fresh hostile acts showed him that the 
worst had come. He was in Strength, his force 
posted along the whole front of the mountain 
behind Apia, Matautu occupied, the Siumu 
road lined up to the houses of the town with 
warriors passionate for war. The occasion was 

unique, and there is no doubt that he designed 
to seize it. The same day of this bombard" 
ment, he sent word bidding all English and 

228 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

Americans wear a black band upon their arm, 
so that his men should recognise and spare 
them. The hint was taken, and the band worn 
for a continuance of days. To have refused 
would have been insane ; but to consent was 
unhappily to feed the resentment of the Ger- 
mans by a fresh sign of intelligence with their 
enemies, and to widen the breach between the 
races by a fresh and a scarce pardonable mark 
of their division. The same day again the Ger- 
mans repeated one of their earlier offences by 
firing on a boat within the harbour. Times 
were changed ; they were now at war and in 
peril, the rigour of military advantage might 
well be seized by them and pardoned by others ; 
but it so chanced that the bullets flew about 
the ears of Captain Hand, and that commander 
is said to have been insatiable of apologies. 
The affair, besides, had a deplorable effect on 
the inhabitants. A black band (they saw) 
might protect them from the Mataafas, not 
from undiscriminating shots. Panic ensued. 
The war-ships were open to receive the fugi- 
tives, and the gentlemen who had made merry 
over Fangalii were seen to thrust each other 

' ' Furor Consularis " 229 

from the wharves in their eagerness to flee 
Apia. I willingly drop the curtain on the 
shameful picture. 

Meanwhile, on the German side of the bay, 
a more manly spirit was exhibited in circum- 
stances of alarming weakness. The plantation 
managers and overseers had all retreated to 
Matafele, only one (I understand) remaining 
at his post. The whole German colony was 
thus collected in one spot, and could count and 
wonder at its scanty numbers. Knappe de- 
clares (to my surprise) that the war-ships could 
not spare him more than fifty men a day. The 
great extension of the German quarter, he goes 
on, did not "allow a full occupation of the 
outer line " ; hence they had shrunk into the 
western end by the firm buildings, and the in- 
habitants were warned to fall back on this 
position, in the case of an alert. So that he 
who had set forth, a day or so before, to disarm 
the Mataafas in the open field, now found his 
resources scarce adequate to garrison the build- 
ings of the firm. Hut Knappe seemed unteach- 
able by fate. It is probable he thought he 

230 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

"Already waded in so deep, 
Returning were as tedious as go o'er n ; 

it is certain that he continued, on the scene of 
his defeat and in the midst of his weakness, to 
bluster and menace like a conqueror. Active 
war, which he lacked the means of attempting, 
was continually threatened. On the 22d, he 
sought the aid of his brother consuls to main- 
tain the neutral territory against Mataafa ; and 
at the same time, as though meditating instant 
deeds of prowess, refused to be bound by it 
himself. This singular proposition was of 
course refused : Blacklock remarking that he 
had no fear of the natives, if these were let 
alone ; de Coetlogon refusing in the circum- 
stances to recognise any neutral territory at all. 
In vain Knappe amended and baited his pro- 
posal with the offer of forty-eight or ninety-six 
hours' notice, according as his objective should 
be near or within the boundary of the Eleele 
Sa. It was rejected ; and he learned that he 
must accept, war with all its consequences — 
and not that which he desired — war with the 
immunities of peace. 

This monstrous exigence illustrates the man's 

" Furor Consularis " 231 

frame of mind. It has been still further illumi- 
nated in the German white book by printing 
alongside of his despatches those of the unim- 
passioned Fritze. On January 8th, the con- 
sulate was destroyed by fire. Knappe says it 
was the work of incendiaries, " without doubt " ; 
Fritze admits that " everything seems to show " 
it was an accident. " Tamasese's people fit to 
bear arms," writes Knappe, " are certainly for 
the moment equal to Mataafa's," though re- 
strained from battle by the lack of ammunition. 
"As for Tamasese," says Fritze of the same 
date, " he is now but a phantom — dient er nut 
als Gcspenst. His party, for practical purposes, 
is no longer large. They pretend ammunition 
to be lacking, but what they lack most is good 
will. Captain Brandeis, whose influence is now 
small, declares they can no longer sustain a 
serious engagement, and is himself in the Inten- 
tion of leaving Samoa by the LUbeck of the 
5th February." And Knappe, in the same 
despatch, confutes himself and confirms the 
testimony of his naval colleague, by the admis- 
sion that "the re-establishment of Tamasese's 
government is, under present circumstances, not 

232 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

to be thought of." Plainly, then, he was not so 
much seeking to deceive others, as he was 
himself possessed ; and we must regard the 
whole series of his acts and despatches as the 
agitations of a fever. 

The British steamer Richmond returned to 
Apia, January 15th. On the last voyage she 
had brought the ammunition already so fre- 
quently referred to; as a matter of fact, she 
was again bringing contraband of war. It 
is necessary to be explicit upon this, which 
served as spark to so great a flame of scandal. 
Knappe was justified in interfering; he would 
have been worthy of all condemnation if he 
had neglected, in his posture of semi-invest- 
ment, a precaution so elementary ; and the 
manner in which he set about attempting it 
was conciliatory and almost timid. He applied 
to Captain Hand, and begged him to accept 
himself the duty of "controlling" the discharge 
of the Richmond's cargo. Hand was unable 
to move without his consul; and at night, 
an armed boat from the Germans boarded, 
searched, and kept possession of, the suspected 
ship. The next day, as by an afterthought, 

" Furor Consularis " 233 

war and martial law were proclaimed for the 
Samoan Islands, the introduction of contraband 
of war forbidden, and ships and boats declared 
liable to search. " All support of the rebels 
will be punished by martial law," continued the 
proclamation, " no matter to what nationality 
the person \Thater\ may belong." 

Hand, it has been seen, declined to act in 
the matter of the Richmond without the con- 
currence of his consul ; but I have found no 
evidence that either Hand or Knappe commu- 
nicated with de Coetlogon, with whom they were 
both at daggers drawn. First the seizure and 
next the proclamation seem to have burst on 
the English consul from a clear sky ; and he 
wrote on the same day, throwing doubt on 
Knappe's authority to declare war. Knappe 
replied on the 20th that the Imperial German 
government had been at war as a matter of 
fact since December 19th, and that it was only 
for the convenience of the subjects of other 
states that he had been empowered to make 
a formal declaration. " From that moment," 
he added, " martial law prevails in Samoa." 
Dc Coetlogon instantly retorted, declining mar- 

234 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

tial law for British subjects, and announcing 
a proclamation in that sense. Instantly, again, 
came that astonishing document, Knappe's re- 
joinder, without pause, without reflection — the 
pens screeching on the paper, the messengers 
(you would think) running from consulate to 
consulate : " I have had the honour to receive 
your excellency's \^HocJiwo1ilgeborcn~\ agreeable 
communication of to-day. Since, on the ground 
of received instructions, martial law has been 
declared in Samoa, British subjects as well as 
others fall under its application. I warn you 
therefore to abstain from such a proclamation 
as you announce in your letter. It will be 
such a piece of business as shall make your- 
self answerable under martial law. Besides, 
your proclamation will be disregarded." De 
Coetlogon of course issued his proclamation at 
once, Knappe retorted with another, and night 
closed on the first stage of this insane collision. 
I hear the German consul was on this day pros- 
trated with fever ; charity at least must suppose 
him hardly answerable for his language. 

Early on the 21st, Mr. Mansfield Gallien, a 
passing traveller, was seized in his berth on 

11 Furor Consularis" 235 

board the Richmond \ and carried, half-dressed, 
on board a German war-ship. His offence was, 
in the circumstances and after the proclama- 
tion, substantial. He had gone the day before, 
in the spirit of a tourist, to Mataafa's camp, 
had spoken with the king, and had even rec- 
ommended him an appeal to Sir George Grey. 
Fritze, I gather, had been long uneasy ; this 
arrest on board a British ship filled the meas- 
ure. Doubtless, as he had written long before, 
the consul alone was responsible " on the legal 
side " ; but the captain began to ask himself, 
" What next ? " — telegraphed direct home for 
instructions, " Is arrest of foreigners on foreign 
vessels legal ? " — and was ready, at a word 
from Captain Hand, to discharge his danger- 
ous prisoner. The word in question (so the 
story goes) was not without a kind of wit. 
" I wish you would set that man ashore," I land 
is reported to have said, indicating Gallien ; 
"I wish you would set that man ashore, to 
save me the trouble." The same day, dc Coct- 
logon published a proclamation requesting cap- 
tains to submit to search for contraband of WW. 

On the 22d, the Samoa Times and South Sea 

2 36 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

Advertiser was suppressed by order of Fritze. 
I have hitherto refrained from mentioning the 
single paper of our islands, that I might deal 
with it once for all. It is of course a tiny- 
sheet ; but I have often had occasion to wonder 
at the ability of its articles, and almost always 
at the decency of its tone. Officials may at 
times be a little roughly, and at times a little 
captiously, criticised ; private persons are habit- 
ually respected ; and there are many papers in 
England, and still more in the States, even of 
leading organs in chief cities, that might envy, 
and would do well to imitate, the courtesy and 
discretion of the Samoa Times. Yet the editor, 
Cusack, is only an amateur in journalism, and 
a carpenter by trade. His chief fault is one 
perhaps inevitable in so small a place — that 
he seems a little in the leading of a clique ; 
but his interest in the public weal is genuine 
and generous. One man's meat is another 
man's poison : Anglo-Saxons and Germans have 
been differently brought up. To our galled 
experience the paper appears moderate ; to 
their untried sensations it seems violent. We 
think a public man fair game; we think it a 

" Furor Consularis " 237 

part of his duty, and I am told he finds it a 
part of his reward, to be continually canvassed 
by the press. For the Germans, on the other 
hand, an official wears a certain sacredness; 
when he is called over the coals, they are 
shocked, and (if the official be a German) feel 
that Germany itself has been insulted. The 
Samoa Times had been long a mountain of 
offence. Brandeis had imported from the col- 
onies another printer of the *name of Jones, to 
deprive Cusack of the government printing. 
German sailors had come ashore one day, wild 
with offended patriotism, to punish the editor 
with stripes, and the result was delightfully 
amusing. The champions asked for the Eng- 
lish printer. They were shown the wrong man, 
and the blows intended for Cusack had hailed 
on the shoulders of his rival Jones. On the 
1 2th, Cusack had reprinted an article from a 
San Francisco paper; the Germans had com- 
plained ; and de Coetlogon, in a moment of 
weakness, had fined the editor twenty pounds. 
The judgment was afterwards reversed in Fiji; 
but even at the time it had not satisfied the 
Germans. And so now, on the third day of 

238 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

martial law, the paper was suppressed. Here 
we have another of these international obscuri- 
ties. To Fritze, the step seemed natural and 
obvious ; for Anglo-Saxons, it was a hand laid 
upon the altar ; and the month was scarce out 
before the voice of Senator Frye announced to 
his colleagues that free speech had been sup- 
pressed in Samoa. 

Perhaps we must seek some similar explana- 
tion for Fritze's short-lived code, published and 
withdrawn the next day, the 23d. Fritze him- 
self was in no humour for extremities. He 
was much in the position of a lieutenant who 
should perceive his captain urging the ship 
upon the rocks. It is plain he had lost all con- 
fidence in his commanding officer " upon the 
legal side " ; and we find him writing home with 
anxious candour. He had understood that mar- 
tial law implied military possession ; he was in 
military possession of nothing but his ship, and 
shrewdly suspected that his martial jurisdiction 
should be confined within the same limits. "As 
a matter of fact," he writes, " we do not occupy 
the territory and cannot give foreigners the 
necessary protection, because Mataafa and his 

" Furor Consularis" 239 

people can at any moment forcibly interrupt 
me in my jurisdiction." Yet in the eyes of 
Anglo-Saxons the severity of his code appeared 
burlesque. I give but three of its provisions. 
The crime of inciting German troops " by any 
means, as, for instance, informing them of proc- 
lamations by the enemy," was punishable with 
death ; that of " publishing or secretly distrib- 
uting anything, whether printed or written, 
bearing on the war," with prison or deporta- 
tion ; and that of calling or attending a public 
meeting, unless permitted, with the same. Such 
were the tender mercies of Knappe, lurking in 
the western end of the German quarter, where 
Mataafa could "at any moment" interrupt his 

On the 22d (day of the suppression of the 
'J imes), de Coetlogon wrote to inquire if hostili- 
ties were intended against Great Britain, which 
Knappe on the same day denied. On the 23d, 
de CoetlogOIl sent a complaint of hostile acts, 
such as the armed and forcible entry of the 
Richmond before the declaration and the arrest 
of Gallien. In his reply, dated the 24th, Knappe 
took occasion to repeat, although now- with 

240 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

more self-command, his former threat against 
de Coetlogon. " I am still of the opinion," he 
writes, " that even foreign consuls are liable to 
the application of martial law, if they are guilty 
of offences against the belligerent state." The 
same day (24th), de Coetlogon complained that 
Fletcher, manager for Messrs. Macarthur, had 
been summoned by Fritze. In answer, Knappe 
had " the honour to inform your excellency that 
since the declaration of the state of war, British 
subjects are liable to martial law, and Mr. 
Fletcher will be arrested if he does not appear." 
Here, then, was the gauntlet thrown down, 
and de Coetlogon was burning to accept it. 
Fletcher's offence was this. Upon the 22d, a 
steamer had come in from Wellington, specially 
chartered to bring German despatches to Apia. 
The rumour came along with her from New 
Zealand that in these despatches Knappe would 
find himself rebuked, and Fletcher was accused 
of having " interested himself in the spreading 
of this rumour." His arrest was actually or- 
dered, when Hand succeeded in persuading him 
to surrender. At the German court, the case 
was dismissed " wegen Nichtigkeit" ; and the 

" Furor Consularis " 241 

acute stage of these distempers may be said to 
have ended. Blessed are the peacemakers. 
Hand had perhaps averted a collision. What 
is more certain, he had offered to the world a 
perfectly original reading of the part of British 

Hand may have averted a collision, I say; 
but I am tempted to believe otherwise. I am 
tempted to believe the threat to arrest Fletcher 
was the last mutter of the declining tempest 
and a mere sop to Knappe's self-respect. I am 
tempted to believe the rumour in question was 
substantially correct, and the steamer from Wel- 
lington had really brought the German consul 
grounds for hesitation, if not orders to retreat. 
I believe the unhappy man to have awakened 
from a dream, and to have read ominous writing 
on the wall. An enthusiastic popularity sur- 
rounded him among the Germans. It was natu- 
ral. Consul and colony had passed through an 
hour of serious peril, and the consul had set 

the example of undaunted courage. He was 

entertained at dinner. Frit/.e, who was known 
to have secretly opposed him, was seorned ami 
avoided. But the clerks of the German Firm 
were one thing, Prince Bisinarek was another; 

242 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

and on a cold review of these events, it is not 
improbable that Knappe may have envied the 
position of his naval colleague. It is certain, 
at least, that he set himself to shuffle and 
capitulate ; and when the blow fell, he was able 
to reply that the martial law business had in 
the meanwhile come right ; that the English 
and American consular courts stood open for 
ordinary cases ; and that in different conversa- 
tions with Captain Hand, "who has always 
maintained friendly intercourse with the Ger- 
man authorities," it had been repeatedly ex- 
plained that only the supply of weapons and 
ammunition, or similar aid and support, was to 
come under German martial law. Was it weap- 
ons or ammunition that Fletcher had supplied ? 
But it is unfair to criticise these wrigglings of 
an unfortunate in a false position. 

In a despatch of the 23d, which has not been 
printed, Knappe had told his story : how he 
had declared war, subjected foreigners to mar- 
tial law, and been received with a counter- 
proclamation by the English consul ; and how 
(in an interview with Mataafa chiefs at the 
plantation-house of Motuotua, of which I cannot 
find the date) he had demanded the cession of 

" Furor Constilaris^ 243 

arms and of ringleaders for punishment, and pro- 
posed to assume the government of the islands. 
On February 12th, he received Bismarck's an- 
swer : " You had no right to take foreigners 
from the jurisdiction of their consuls. The 
protest of your English colleague is grounded. 
In disputes which may arise from this cause 
you will find yourself in the wrong. The 
demand formulated by you, as to the assump- 
tion of the government of Samoa by Germany, 
lay outside of your instructions and of our 
design. Take it immediately back. If your 
telegram is here rightly understood, I cannot 
call your conduct good." It must be a hard 
heart that does not sympathise with Knappe in 
the hour when he received this document. Yet 
it may be said that his troubles were still in the 
beginning. Men had contended against him, 
and he had not prevailed; he was now to be at 
war with the elements, and find his name iden- 
tified with an immense disaster. 

One more date, however, must be given first 

It was on February 27th that Fritze formally 

announced martial law to be Suspended, and 
himself to have relinquished the control of the 

244 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 


March 1889 

The so-called harbour of Apia is formed in 
part by a recess of the coast-line at Matautu, 
in part by the slim peninsula of Mulinuu, and 
in part by the fresh waters of the Mulivai and 
Vaisingano. The barrier reef — that singular 
breakwater that makes so much of the circuit 
of Pacific islands — is carried far to sea at 
Matautu and Mulinuu ; inside of these two 
horns it runs sharply landward, and between 
them it is burst or dissolved by the fresh water. 
The shape of the inclosed anchorage may be 
compared to a high-shouldered jar or bottle 
with a funnel mouth. Its sides are almost 
everywhere of coral ; for the reef not only 
bounds it to seaward and forms the neck and 
mouth, but skirting about the beach, it forms 
the bottom also. As in the bottle of commerce. 

The Hurricane 245 

the bottom is re-entrant, and the shore-reef runs 
prominently forth into the basin and makes a 
dangerous cape opposite the fairway of the 
entrance. Danger is, therefore, on all hands. 
The entrance gapes three cables wide at the 
narrowest, and the formidable surf of the Pacific 
thunders both outside and in. There are days 
when speech is difficult in the chambers of 
shoreside houses ; days when no boat can land, 
and when men are broken by stroke of sea 
against the wharves. As I write these words, 
three miles in the mountains, and with the land 
breeze still blowing from the island summit, the 
sound of that vexed harbour hums in my ears. 
Such a creek in my native coast of Scotland 
would scarce be dignified with the mark of an 
anchor in the chart; but in the favoured cli- 
mate of Samoa, and with the mechanical regu- 
larity of the winds in the Pacific, it forms, for 
ten or eleven months out of the twelve, a safe 
if hardly a commodious port. The ill-found 
island traders ride there with their insufficient 
mo >ringa the year through, and discharge, and 
are loaded, without apprehension. Of danger, 
vhen it comes, the glass gives timely warning; 

246 Eight Years of Trouble 171 Samoa 

and that any modern war-ship, furnished with 
the power of steam, should have been lost in 
Apia, belongs not so much to nautical as to 
political history. 

The weather throughout all that winter (the 
turbulent summer of the islands) was unusually 
fine, and the circumstance had been commented 
on as providential, when so many Samoans 
were lying on their weapons in the bush. By 
February it began to break in occasional gales. 
On February 10th, a German brigantine was 
driven ashore. On the 14th, the same misfor- 
tune befell an American brigantine and a 
schooner. On both these days, and again on 
the 7th March, the men-of-war must steam to 
their anchors. And it was in this J^st month, 
the most dangerous of the twelve, that man's 
animosities crowded that indentation of the reef 
with costly, populous, and vulnerable ships. 

I have shown, perhaps already at too great 
a length, how violently passion ran upon the 
spot ; how high this series of blunders and mis- 
haps had heated the resentment of the Germans 
against all other nationalities and of all other 
nationalities against the Germans. But there 

The Hurricane 247 

was one country beyond the borders of Samoa 
where the question had aroused a scarce less 
angry sentiment. The breach of the Washing- 
ton Congress, the evidence of Sewall before a 
sub-committee on foreign relations, the proposal 
to try Klein before a military court, and the 
rags of Captain Hamilton's flag, had combined 
to stir the people of the States to an unwonted 
fervour. Germany was for the time the ab- 
horred of nations. Germans in America pub- 
licly disowned the country of their birth. In 
Honolulu, so near the scene of action, German 
and American young men fell to blows in the 
street. In the same city, from no traceable 
source and upon no possible authority, there 
arose a rumour of tragic news to arrive by the 
next occasion, that the Nipsic had opened fire 
on the Adlcr, and the Adlcr had sunk her on 
the first reply. Punctually on the day ap- 
pointed, the news came ; and the two nations, 
instead of being plunged in war, could only 
mingle tears over the loss of heroes. 

By the second week in March, three Ameri- 
can ships were in Apia bay, — the Nipsic, the 
Vandalia, and the Trenton, carrying the flag of 

248 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

Rear-Admiral Kimberlcy ; three German, — the 
Adler, the Ebcr, and the Olga ; and one British, 

— the Calliope, Captain Kane. Six merchant- 
men, ranging from twenty-five up to five hun- 
dred tons, and a number of small craft, further 
encumbered the anchorage. Its capacity is esti- 
mated by Captain Kane at four large ships ; 
and the latest arrivals, the Vandalia and Tren- 
ton, were in consequence excluded, and lay 
without in the passage. Of the seven war- 
ships, the seaworthiness of two were question- 
able : the Trenton's, from an original defect in 
her construction, often reported, never remedied 

— her hawse-pipes leading in on the berth- 
deck ; the Eber's, from an injury to her screw 
in the blow of February 14th. In this over- 
crowding of ships in an open entry of the reef, 
even the eye of a landsman could spy danger ; 
and Captain-Lieutenant Wallis of the Eber 
openly blamed and lamented, not many hours 
before the catastrophe, their helpless posture. 
Temper once more triumphed. The army of 
Mataafa still hung imminent behind the town ; 
the German quarter was still daily garrisoned 
with fifty sailors from the squadron ; what was 

The Hurricane 249 

yet more influential, Germany and the States, 
at least, in Apia bay, were on the brink of 
war, viewed each other with looks of hatred, 
and scarce observed the letter of civility. On 
the day of the admiral's arrival, Knappe failed 
to call on him, and on the morrow called on 
him while he was on shore. The slight was 
remarked and resented, and the two squadrons 
clung the more obstinately to their dangerous 

On the 15th, the barometer fell to 29 . 11 
by 2 p.m. This was the moment when every 
sail in port should have escaped. Kimbcrley, 
who flew the only broad pennant, should cer- 
tainly have led the way : he clung, instead, to 
his moorings, and the Germans doggedly fol- 
lowed his example : semi-belligerents, daring 
each other and the violence of heaven. Kane, 
less immediately involved, was led in error by 
the report of residents and a fallacious rise in 
the glass ; he stayed with the others, a mis- 
judgment that was like to cost him dear. All 
were moored, as is the custom in Apia, with two 
practically east and west, clear haW8C 
to the north, and a kedge astern. Topmasts 

250 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

were struck, and the ships made snug. The 
night closed black, with sheets of rain. By 
midnight it blew a gale ; and by the morning 
watch, a tempest. Through what remained of 
darkness, the captains impatiently expected day, 
doubtful if they were dragging, steaming gin- 
gerly to their moorings, and afraid to steam too 

Day came about six, and presented to those 
on shore a seizing and terrific spectacle. In 
the pressure of the squalls, the bay was 
obscured as if by midnight, but between them 
a great part of it was clearly if darkly visible 
amid driving mist and rain. The wind blew 
into the harbour mouth. Naval authorities de- 
scribe it as of hurricane force. It had, however, 
few or none of the effects on shore suggested 
by that ominous word, and was successfully 
withstood by trees and buildings. The agita- 
tion of the sea, on the other hand, surpassed 
experience and description. Seas that might 
have awakened surprise and terror in the midst 
of the Atlantic, ranged bodily and (it seemed 
to observers) almost without diminution into 
the belly of that flask-shaped harbour ; and the 

The Hurricane 2 5 1 

war-ships were alternately buried from view in 
the trough, or seen standing on end against the 
breast of billows. 

The Trenton at daylight still maintained her 
position in the neck of the bottle. But five of 
the remaining ships tossed, already close to the 
bottom, in a perilous and helpless crowd; threat- 
ening ruin to each other as they tossed ; threat- 
ened with a common and imminent destruction 
on the reefs. Three had been already in col- 
lision : the Olga was injured in the quarter, the 
Adler had lost her bowsprit ; the Nipsic had lost 
her smokestack, and was making steam with 
difficulty, maintaining her fire with barrels of 
pork, and the smoke and sparks pouring along 
the level of the deck. For the seventh war- 
ship, the day had come too late ; the Eber had 
finished her last cruise ; she was to be seen no 
more save by the eyes of divers. A coral reef 
is not only an instrument of destruction, but a 
place of sepulture; the submarine cliff is pro- 
foundly undercut, and presents the mouth of a 
huge autre, in which the bodies of men and 
the hulls of ships are alike hurled down and 
buried The Ebit had dragged anchors with 

252 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

the rest ; her injured screw disabled her from 
steaming vigorously up ; and a little before 
day, she had struck the front of the coral, come 
off, struck again, and gone down stern foremost, 
oversetting as she went, into the gaping hollow 
of the reef. Of her whole complement of 
nearly eighty, four souls were cast alive on the 
beach ; and the bodies of the remainder were, 
by the voluminous outpouring of the flooded 
streams, scoured at last from the harbour, and 
strewed naked on the seaboard of the island. 

Five ships were immediately menaced with 
the same destruction. The Eber vanished — 
the four poor survivors on shore — read a 
dreadful commentary on their danger; which 
was swelled out of all proportion by the vio- 
lence of their own movements as they leaped 
and fell among the billows. By seven, the 
Nipsic was so fortunate as to avoid the reef 
and beach upon a space of sand ; where she 
was immediately deserted by her crew, with the 
assistance of Samoans, not without loss of life. 
By about eight, it was the turn of the Adler. 
She was close down upon the reef; doomed 
herself, it might yet be possible to save a por« 

The Hurricane 253 

tion of her crew ; and for this end, Captain 
Fritze placed his reliance on the very hugeness 
of the seas that threatened him. The moment 
was watched for with the anxiety of despair, 
but the coolness of disciplined courage. As 
she rose on the fatal wave, her moorings were 
simultaneously slipped ; she broached to in ris- 
ing ; and the sea heaved her bodily upward and 
cast her down with a concussion on the summit 
of the reef, where she lay on her beam ends, 
her back broken, buried in breaching seas, but 
safe. Conceive a table : the Eber in the dark- 
ness had been smashed against the rim and 
flung below; the Adlcr, cast free in the nick 
of opportunity, had been thrown upon the top. 
Many were injured in the concussion ; many 
tossed into the water ; twenty perished. The 
survivors crept again on board their ship, as it 
now lay, and as it still remains, keel to the 
waves, a monument of the sea's potency. In 
still weather, under a cloudless sky, in those 
seasons when that ill-named oeean, the Pacific, 
BUffen its vexed shores to rest, she lies high 
and dry, the Bpray scarce touching her the 
hugest structure oi man'fl hands within a circuit 

254 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

of a thousand miles — tossed up there like a 
schoolboy's cap upon a shelf; broken like an 
egg : a thing to dream of. 

The unfriendly consuls of Germany and Brit- 
ain were both that morning in Matautu, and 
both displayed their nobler qualities. De Coet- 
logon, the grim old soldier, collected his family 
and kneeled with them in an agony of prayer 
for those exposed. Knappe, more fortunate in 
that he was called to a more active service, 
must, upon the striking of the Adler, pass to 
his own consulate. From this he was divided 
by the Vaisingano, now a raging torrent, im- 
petuously charioting the trunks of trees. A 
kelpie might have dreaded to attempt the pas- 
sage ; we may conceive this brave but unfortu- 
nate and now ruined man to have found a 
natural joy in the exposure of his life; and 
twice that day, coming and going, he braved 
the fury of the river. It was possible, in spite 
of the darkness of the hurricane and the con- 
tinual breaching of the seas, to remark human 
movements on the Adler ; and by the help of 
Samoans, always nobly forward in the woik, 
whether for friend or enemy, Knappe sought 

The Hurricane 255 

long to get a line conveyed from shore, and was 
for long defeated. The shore guard of fifty men 
stood to their arms the while upon the beach, 
useless themselves, and a great deterrent of 
Samoan usefulness. It was perhaps impossible 
that this mistake should be avoided. What 
more natural, to the mind of a European, than 
that the Mataafas should fall upon the Ger- 
mans in this hour of their disadvantage ? But 
they had no other thought than to assist ; and 
those who now rallied beside Knappe braved 
(as they supposed) in doing so a double dan- 
ger, from the fury of the sea and the weapons 
of their enemies. About nine, a quartermaster 
swam ashore, and reported all the officers and 
some sixty men alive, but In pitiable case ; some 
with broken limbs, others insensible from the 
drenching of the breakers. Later in the fore- 
noon, certain valorous Samoans succeeded in 
reaching the wreck and returning with a line ; 

but it was speedily broken ; and all subsequent 
attempts proved unavailing, the strongest ad* 
venturers being cast back again by the bursting 

seas. Thenceforth, all through that day am] 

night, the deafened survivors must continue to 

256 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

endure their martyrdom ; and one officer died, 
it was supposed from agony of mind, in his 
inverted cabin. 

Three ships still hung on the next margin of 
destruction, steaming desperately to their moor- 
ings, dashed helplessly together. The Calliope 
was the nearest in ; she had the Va?idalia close 
on her port side and a little ahead, the Olga 
close a-starboard, the reef under her heel ; and 
steaming and veering on her cables, the un- 
happy ship fenced with her three dangers. 
About a quarter to nine she carried away the 
Vandalids quarter gallery with her jib-boom ; 
a moment later, the Olga had near rammed her 
from the other side. By nine the Vandalia 
dropped down on her too fast to be avoided, 
and clapped her stern under the bowsprit of 
the English ship, the fastenings of which were 
burst asunder as she rose. To avoid cutting 
her down, it was necessary for the Calliope to 
stop and even to reverse her engines ; and her 
rudder was at the moment — or it seemed so to 
the eyes of those on board — within ten fet>t 
of the reef. " Between the Vandalia and the 
reef " (writes Kane, in his excellent report) " it 

The Hurricane 257 

was destruction." To repeat Fritze's manoeuvre 
with the Adler was impossible ; the Calliope 
was too heavy. The one possibility of escape 
was to go out. If the engines should stand, 
if they should have power to drive the ship 
against wind and sea, if she should answer the 
helm, if the wheel, rudder, and gear should hold 
out, and if they were favoured with a clear 
blink of weather in which to see and avoid the 
outer reef — there, and there only, were safety. 
Upon this catalogue of " ifs " Kane staked his 
all. He signalled to the engineer for every 
pound of steam — and at that moment (I am 
told) much of the machinery was already red 
hot. The ship was sheered well to starboard of 
the Vandalia % the last remaining cable slipped. 
For a time — and there was no on-looker so 
cold-blooded as to offer a guess at its duration 
— the Calliope lay stationary ; then gradually 
drew ahead. The highest speed claimed far 
her that day is of one sea-mile an hour. The 
question of times and seasons, throughout all 
this roaring business, is obscured by a do/en 
contradictions ; T have but chosen what ap- 
peared to be the most consistent ; but il I am 

258 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

to pay any attention to the time named by Ad- 
miral Kimberley, the Calliope, in this first stage 
of her escape, must have taken more than two 
hours to cover less than four cables. As she 
thus crept seaward, she buried bow and stern 
alternately under the billows. 

In the fairway of the entrance, the flagship 
Trenton still held on. Her rudder was broken, 
her wheel carried away ; within she was flooded 
with water from the peccant hawse-pipes ; she 
had just made the signal " fires extinguished," 
and lay helpless, awaiting the inevitable end. 
Between this melancholy hulk and the external 
reef, Kane must find a path. Steering within 
fifty yards of the reef (for which she was actu- 
ally headed) and her foreyard passing on the 
other hand over the Trenton's quarter as she 
rolled, the Calliope sheered between the rival 
dangers, came to the wind triumphantly, and 
was once more pointed for the sea and safety. 
Not often in naval history was there a moment 
of more sickening peril, and it was dignified 
by one of those incidents that reconcile the 
chronicler with his otherwise abhorrent task. 
From the doomed flagship, the Americans 

The Hurricane 259 

hailed the success of the English with a cheer. 
It was led by the old admiral in person, rang 
out over the storm with holiday vigour, and 
was answered by the Calliopes with an emotion 
easily conceived. This ship of their kinsfolk 
was almost the last external object seen from 
the Calliope for hours ; immediately after, the 
mists closed about her till the morrow. She 
was safe at sea again — una de multis — with 
a damaged foreyard, and a loss of all the orna- 
mental work about her bow and stern, three 
anchors, one kedge anchor, fourteen lengths of 
chain, four boats, the jibboom, bobstay, and 
bands and fastenings of the bowsprit. 

Shortly after Kane had slipped his cable, 
Captain Schoonmaker, despairing of the \\vi- 
dalia, succeeded in passing astern of the Ol^a } 
in the hope to beach his ship beside the Nipsic. 
At a quarter to eleven her stern took the reef, 
her head swung to starboard, and she began 
to fill and settle. Many lives of brave men 
were sacrificed in the attempt to get a line 
ashore; the captain, exhausted by his exertions, 
was swept from deck bv a sea; and the rail 
being soon awash, the survivors took refuge in 
the tops. 

260 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

Out of thirteen that had lain there the day 
before, there were now but two ships afloat in 
Apia harbour, and one of these was doomed 
to be the bane of the other. About 3 p.m. the 
Trenton parted one cable, and shortly after a 
second. It was sought to keep her head to 
wind with storm sails and by the ingenious 
expedient of filling the rigging with seamen ; 
but in the fury of the gale, and in that sea 
perturbed alike by the gigantic billows and the 
volleying discharges of the rivers, the rudder- 
less ship drove down stern foremost into the 
inner basin ; ranging, plunging, and striking 
like a frightened horse ; drifting on destruction 
for herself and bringing it to others. Twice 
the Olga (still well under command) avoided 
her impact by the skilful use of helm and 
engines. But about four the vigilance of the 
Germans was deceived, and the ships collided ; 
the Olga cutting into the Trenton's quarters, 
first from one side, then from the other, and 
losing at the same time two of her own cables. 
Captain von Ehrhardt instantly slipped the 
remainder of his moorings, and setting fore 
and aft canvas and going full steam ahead, 

The Hit rrica ne 261 

succeeded in beaching his ship in Matautu ; 
whither Knappe, recalled by this new disaster, 
had returned. The berth was perhaps the best 
in the harbour, and von Ehrhardt signalled that 
ship and crew were in security. 

The Trenton, guided apparently by an under- 
tow or eddy from the discharge of the Vaisin- 
gano, followed in the course of the Nipsic and 
Vandalia, and skirted southeastward along the 
front of the shore reef, which her keel was 
at times almost touching. Hitherto she had 
brought disaster to her foes ; now she was 
bringing it to friends. She had already proved 
the ruin of the Olga, the one ship that had rid 
out the hurricane in safety ; now she beheld 
across her course the submerged Vandalia, the 
tops filled with exhausted seamen. Happily 
the approach of the Trenton was gradual, and 
the time employed to advantage. Rockets and 
lines were thrown into the tops of the friendly 
wreck; the approach of danger was transformed 
into a means of safety; and before the ships 

Struck, the men from the Wmdalia's main and 

mizzen masts, which went immediately by the 

board in the collision, were already mustered on 

262 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

the Trenton s decks. Those from the foremast 
were next rescued ; and the flagship settled 
gradually into a position alongside her neigh- 
bour, against which she beat all night with 
violence. Out of the crew of the Vandalia 
forty-three had perished ; of the four hundred 
and fifty on board the Trento?i, only one. 

The night of the 16th was still notable for 
a howling tempest and extraordinary floods of 
rain. It was feared the wrecks could scarce 
continue to endure the breaching of the seas ; 
among the Germans, the fate of those on board 
the Adler awoke keen anxiety ; and Knappe, on 
the beach of Matautu, and the other officers of 
his consulate on that of Matafele, watched all 
night. The morning of the 17th displayed a 
scene of devastation rarely equalled : the Adler 
high and dry, the Olga and Nipsic beached, the 
Trejiton partly piled on the Vandalia and her- 
self sunk to the gun-deck ; no sail afloat ; and 
the beach heaped high with the de'bris of ships 
and the wreck of mountain forests. Already, 
before the day, Seumanu, the chief of Apia, 
had gallantly ventured forth by boat through 
the subsiding fury of the seas, and had sue- 

The Hiirricane 263 

ceeded in communicating with the admiral ; 
already, or as soon after as the dawn per- 
mitted, rescue lines were rigged, and the sur- 
vivors were with difficulty and danger begun to 
be brought to shore. And soon the cheerful 
spirit of the admiral added a new feature to the 
scene. Surrounded as he was by the crews of 
two wrecked ships, he paraded the band of the 
Trenton, and the bay was suddenly enlivened 
with the strains of " Hail Columbia." 

During a great part of the day, the work of 
rescue was continued, with many instances of 
courage and devotion ; and for a long time suc- 
ceeding, the almost inexhaustible harvest of the 
beach was to be reaped. In the first employ- 
ment, the Samoans earned the gratitude of 
friend and foe ; in the second, they surprised 
all by an unexpected virtue, that of honesty. 
The greatness of the disaster, and the magni- 
tude of the treasure now rolling at their fret, 
may perhaps have roused in their bosoms an 
emotion too serious for the rule of greed, or 
perhaps that greed was for the moment sati- 
ated. Sails that twelve strong Samoans COllld 
searee drag trom the water, great guns (one of 

264 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

which was rolled by the sea on the body of a 
man, the only native slain in all the hurricane), 
an infinite wealth of rope and wood, of tools 
and weapons, tossed upon the beach. Yet I 
have never heard that much was stolen ; and 
beyond question, much was very honestly re- 
turned. On both accounts, for the saving of 
life and the restoration of property, the govern- 
ment of the United States showed themselves 
generous in reward. A fine boat was fitly pre- 
sented to Seumanu; and rings, watches, and 
money were lavished on all who had assisted. 
The Germans also gave money at the rate (as I 
receive the tale) of three dollars a head for 
every German saved. The obligation was in 
this instance incommensurably deep, those 
with whom they were at war had saved the 
German blue-jackets at the venture of their 
lives ; Knappe was, besides, far from ungener- 
ous ; and I can only explain the niggard figure, 
by supposing it was paid from his own pocket. 
In one case, at least, it was refused. " I have 
saved three Germans," said the rescuer; " I will 
make you a present of the three." 

The crews of the American and German 

The Hurricane 265 

squadrons were now cast, still in a bellicose 
temper, together on the beach. The discipline 
of the Americans was notoriously loose ; the 
crew of the Nipsic had earned a character for 
lawlessness in other ports ; and recourse was 
had to stringent and indeed extraordinary meas- 
ures. The town was divided in two camps, to 
which the different nationalities were confined. 
Kimberley had his quarter sentinelled and pa- 
trolled. Any seaman disregarding a challenge 
was to be shot dead ; any tavern-keeper who 
sold spirits to an American sailor was to have 
his tavern broken and his stock destroyed. 
Many of the publicans were German ; and 
Knappe, having narrated these rigorous but 
necessary dispositions, wonders (grinning to 
himself over his despatch) how far these Ameri- 
cans will go in their assumption of jurisdiction 
over Germans ? Such as they were, the meas- 
ures were successful. The incongruous mass 
of castaways was kept in peace, and at last 
shipped in peace out of the islands. 

Kane returned to Apia on the 19th, to find 
the Calliope the sole survivor of thirteen sail. 
He thanked his men, and in particular the en- 

266 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

gineers, in a speech of unusual feeling and 
beauty, of which one who was present remarked 
to another, as they left the ship, " This has 
been a means of grace." Nor did he forget to 
thank and compliment the admiral ; and I can- 
not deny myself the pleasure of transcribing 
from Kimberley's reply some generous and en- 
gaging words. " My dear captain," he wrote, 
" your kind note received. You went out splen- 
didly, and we all felt from our hearts for you, 
and our cheers came with sincerity and admi- 
ration for the able manner in which you han- 
dled your ship. We could not have been glad- 
der if it had been one of our ships, for in a 
time like that I can say truly with old Admi- 
ral Josiah Tatnall, 'that blood is thicker than 
water.' " One more trait will serve to build 
up the image of this typical sea-officer. A tiny 
schooner, the Equator, Captain Edwin Reid, 
dear to myself from the memories of a six 
months' cruise, lived out upon the high seas 
the fury of that tempest which had piled with 
wrecks the harbour of Apia, found a refuge 
in Pangopango, and arrived at last in the deso- 
lated port with a welcome and lucrative cargo 

The Hurricane 267 

of pigs. The admiral was glad to have the pigs; 
but what most delighted the man's noble and 
childish soul, was to see once more afloat the 
colours of his country. 

Thus, in what seemed the very article of war, 
and within the duration of a single day, the 
sword-arm of each of the two angry powers was 
broken; their formidable ships reduced to junk; 
their disciplined hundreds to a horde of casta- 
ways, fed with difficulty, and the fear of whose 
misconduct marred the sleep of their com- 
manders. Both paused aghast; both had time 
to recognise that not the whole Sam )an Archi- 
pelago was worth the loss in men and costly 
ships already suffered. The so-called hurricane 
of March 16th made thus a marking epoch in 
world-history ; directly, and at once, it brought 
about the congress and treaty of Berlin ; indi- 
rectly, and by a process still continuing, it 
founded the modern navy of the States. Com- 
ing years and other historians will declare the 
influence of that. 

268 Eight Years of Troiiblc in Samoa 



With the hurricane, the broken war-ships, and. 
the stranded sailors, I am at an end of violence, 
and my tale flows henceforth among carpet inci- 
dents. The blue-jackets on Apia beach were 
still jealously held apart by sentries, when the 
powers at home were already seeking a peace- 
able solution. It was agreed, so far as might 
be, to obliterate two years of blundering ; and 
to resume in 1889 and at Berlin those negotia- 
tions which had been so unhappily broken off at 
Washington in 1887. The example thus offered 
by Germany is rare in history ; in the career of 
Prince Bismarck, so far as I am instructed, it 
should stand unique. On a review of these two 
years of blundering, bullying, and failure in a 
little isle of the Pacific, he seems magnanimously 
to have owned his policy was in the wrong. He 

Laupepa and Mataafa 269 

left Fangalii unexpiated ; suffered that house of 
cards, the Tamasese government, to fall by its 
own frailty and without remark or lamentation ; 
left the Samoan question openly and fairly to 
the conference : and in the meanwhile, to allay 
the local heats engendered by Becker and 
Knappe, he sent to Apia that invaluable public 
servant, Dr. Stuebel. I should be a dishonest man 
if I did not here bear testimony to the loyalty 
since shown by Germans in Samoa. Their posi- 
tion was painful ; they had talked big in the old 
days, now they had to sing small. Even Stue- 
bel returned to the islands under the prejudice 
of an unfortunate record. To the minds of the 
Samoans his name represented the beginning of 
their sorrows ; and in his first term of orifice 
he had unquestionably driven hard. The greater 
his merit in the surprising success of the second. 
So long as he stayed, the current of affairs 
moved smoothly ; he left behind him on his 
departure all men at peace ; and whether by 
fortune, or for the want of that wise hand of 
guidance, he was scarce gone before the clouds 
began to gather once more on our horizon. 
Before the first convention, Germany and the 

270 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

States hauled down their flags. It was so done 
again before the second ; and Germany, by a 
still more emphatic step of retrogression, re- 
turned the exile Laupepa to his native shores. 
For two years the unfortunate man had trembled 
and suffered in the Cameroons, in Germany, in 
the rainy Marshalls. When he left (September, 
1887), Tamasese was king, served by five iron 
war-ships ; his right to rule (like a dogma of the 
church) was placed outside dispute ; the Ger- 
mans were still, as they were called at that last 
tearful interview in the house by the river, "the 
invincible strangers " ; the thought of resist- 
ance, far less the hope of success, had not yet 
dawned on the Samoan mind. He returned 
(November, 1889) to a changed world. The 
Tupua party was reduced to sue for peace, 
Brandeis was withdrawn, Tamasese was dying 
obscurely of a broken heart ; the German flag 
no longer waved over the capital ; and over all 
the islands one figure stood supreme. During 
Laupepa's absence this man had succeeded him 
in all his honours and titles, in tenfold more than 
all his power and popularity. He was the idol 
of the whole nation but the rump of the Tama- 

Laupepa and Mataafa 271 

seses, and of these he was already the secret 
admiration. In his position there was but one 
weak point, — that he had ever been tacitly ex- 
cluded by the Germans. Becker, indeed, once 
coquetted with the thought of patronising him ; 
but the project had no sequel, and it stands 
alone. In every other juncture of history the 
German attitude has been the same. Choose 
whom you will to be king ; when he has failed, 
choose whom you please to succeed him ; when 
the second fails also, replace the first : upon the 
one condition, that Mataafa be excluded. 
" Ponrvu qiiil sacJie signer!" — an official is 
said to have thus summed up the qualifications 
necessary in a Samoan king. And it was per- 
haps feared that Mataafa could do no more and 
might not always do so much. But this origi- 
nal diffidence was heightened by late events to 
something verging upon animosity. Fangalii 
was unavenged ; the arms of Mataafa were 

Nondum inexpiatis uncta cruoribus, 
Still soiled with the unexpiated blood, 

of German sailors ; and though the chief was 
not present in the field, nor could have heard of 

272 EigJit Years of Trouble in Samoa 

the affair till it was over, he had reaped from 
it credit with his countrymen and dislike from 
the Germans. 

I may not say that trouble was hoped. I 
must say — if it were not feared, the practice 
of diplomacy must teach a very hopeful view of 
human nature. Mataafa and Laupepa, by the 
sudden repatriation of the last, found them- 
selves face to face in conditions of exasperating 
rivalry. The one returned from the dead of 
exile to find himself replaced and excelled. 
The other, at the end of a long, anxious, and 
successful struggle, beheld his only possible 
competitor resuscitated from the grave. The 
qualities of both, in this difficult moment, shone 
out nobly. I feel I seem always less than par- 
tial to the lovable Laupepa ; his virtues are per- 
haps not those which chiefly please me, and are 
certainly not royal ; but he found on his return 
an opportunity to display the admirable sweet- 
ness of his nature. The two entered into a 
competition of generosity, for which I can 
recall no parallel in history, each waiving the 
throne for himself, each pressing it upon his 
rival ; and they embraced at last a compromise 

Laupepa and Mataafa 273 

the terms of which seem to have been always 
obscure and are now disputed. Laupepa at 
least resumed his style of King of Samoa ; 
Mataafa retained much of the conduct of affairs, 
and continued to receive much of the attend- 
ance and respect befitting royalty ; and the 
two Malitoas, with so many causes of disunion, 
dwelt and met together in the same town like 
kinsmen. It was so, that I first saw them ; 
so, in a house set about with sentries, — for 
there was still a haunting fear of Germany, — 
that I heard them relate their various experience 
in the past ; heard Laupepa tell with touching 
candour of the sorrows of his exile, and Ma- 
taafa with mirthful simplicity of his resources 
and anxieties in the war. The relation was 
perhaps too beautiful to last; it was perhaps 
impossible but the titular king should grow at 
last uneasily conscious of the maire de palais 
at his side, or the king-maker be at last offended 
by some shadow of distrust or assumption in 
his creature. I repeat the words king-maker 
and creature ; it is so that Mataafa himself con- 
ceives of their relation : surely not without jus- 
tice ; for, had he not contended and prevailed, 

274 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

and been helped by the folly of consuls and the 
fury of the storm, Laupepa must have died in 

Foreigners in these islands know little of the 
course of native intrigue. Partly the Samoans 
cannot explain, partly they will not tell. Ask 
how much a master can follow of the puerile 
politics in any school ; so much and no more 
we may understand of the events which sur- 
round and menace us with their results. The 
missions may perhaps have been to blame. 
Missionaries are perhaps apt to meddle over- 
much outside their discipline ; it is a fault 
which should be judged with mercy ; the prob- 
lem is sometimes so insidiously presented that 
even a moderate and able man is betrayed 
beyond his own intention ; and the missionary 
in such a land as Samoa is something else 
besides a minister of mere religion ; he repre- 
sents civilisation, he is condemned to be an 
organ of reform, he could scarce evade (even if he 
desired) a certain influence in political affairs. 
And it is believed, besides, by those who fancy 
they know, that the effective force of division 
between Mataafa and Laupepa came from the 

Laupepa and Mataafa 275 

natives rather than from whites. Before the 
end of 1890, at least, it began to be rumoured 
that there was dispeace between the two 
Malietoas ; and doubtless this had an unset- 
tling influence throughout the islands. But 
there was another ingredient of anxiety. The 
Berlin convention had long closed its sittings ; 
the text of the act had been long in our hands ; 
commissioners were announced to right the 
wrongs of the land question, and two high 
officials, a chief justice and a president, to guide 
policy and administer law in Samoa. Their 
coming was expected with an impatience, with 
a childishness of trust, that can hardly be 
exaggerated. Months passed, these angel-deliv- 
erers still delayed to arrive, and the impatience 
of the natives became changed to an ominous 
irritation. They have had much experience of 
being deceived, and they began to think they 
were deceived again. A sudden crop of super- 
stitious stories buzzed about the islands. Rivers 
had come down red ; unknown fishes had been 
taken on the reef and found to be marked with 
menacing runes ; a headless lizard crawled 
among chiefs in council ; the gods of Upolu 

276 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

and Savaii made war by night, they swam the 
straits to battle, and, defaced with dreadful 
wounds, they had besieged the house of a medi- 
cal missionary. Readers will remember the 
portents in mediaeval chronicles, or those in 
Julius Ccesar when 

Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds 
In ranks and squadrons. 

And doubtless such fabrications are, in simple 
societies, a natural expression of discontent ; 
and those who forge, and even those who spread 
them, work towards a conscious purpose. 

Early in January, 1891, this period of expect- 
ancy was brought to an end by the arrival of 
Conrad Cederkrantz, chief justice of Samoa. 
The event was hailed with acclamation, and 
there was much about the new official to 
increase the hopes already entertained. He 
was seen to be a man of culture and ability ; in 
public, of an excellent presence — in private, of 
a most engaging cordiality. But there was one 
point, I scarce know whether to say of his 
character or policy, which immediately and 
disastrously affected public feeling in the 

Laupepa and Mataafa 277 

islands. He had an aversion, part judicial, part 
perhaps constitutional, to haste ; and he an- 
nounced that, until he should have well satisfied 
his own mind, he should do nothing ; that he 
would rather delay all than do aught amiss. It 
was impossible to hear this without academical 
approval ; impossible to hear it without practi- 
cal alarm. The natives desired to see activity ; 
they desired to see many fair speeches take on 
a body of deeds and works of benefit. Fired by 
the event of the war, filled with impossible 
hopes, they might have welcomed in that hour 
a ruler of the stamp of Brandeis, breathing 
hurry, perhaps dealing blows. And the chief 
justice, unconscious of the fleeting opportunity, 
ripened his opinions deliberately in Mulinuu ; 
and had been already the better part of half a 
year in the islands before he went through the 
form of opening his court. The curtain had 
risen ; there was no play. A reaction, a chill 
sense of disappointment, passed about the 
island ; and intrigue, one moment suspended, 
was resumed. 

In the Berlin act, the three powers recog- 
nise, on the threshold, " the independence of the 

278 Eight Years of Trotiblc in Samoa 

Samoan Government, and the free right of the 
natives to elect their chief or king and choose 
their form of government." True, the text con- 
tinues that, " in view of the difficulties that sur- 
round an election in the present disordered condi- 
tion of the government," Malietoa Laupepa shall 
be recognised as king, " unless the three powers 
shall by common accord otherwise declare." 
But perhaps few natives have followed it so far, 
and even those who have, were possibly cast all 
abroad again by the next clause : "and his suc- 
cessor shall be duly elected according to the 
laws and customs of Samoa." The right to 
elect, freely given in one sentence, was sus- 
pended in the next, and a line or so further on 
appeared to be reconveyed by a side wind. The 
reason offered for suspension was ludicrously 
false; in May, 1889, when Sir Edward Malet 
moved the matter in the conference, the elec- 
tion of Mataafa was not only certain to have 
been peaceful, it could not have been opposed ; 
and behind the English puppet it was easy to 
suspect the hand of Germany. No one is more 
swift to smell trickery than a Samoan ; and the 
thought that, under the long, bland, benevolent 

Laupepa and Mataafa 279 

sentences of the Berlin act, some trickery lay 
lurking, filled him with the breadth of opposi- 
tion. Laupepa seems never to have been a 
popular king. Mataafa, on the other hand, 
holds an unrivalled position in the eyes of his 
fellow-countrymen ; he was the hero of the war, 
he had lain with them in the bush, he had 
borne the heat and burthen of the day ; they 
began to claim that he should enjoy more largely 
the fruits of victory ; his exclusion was believed 
to be a stroke of German vengeance, his eleva- 
tion to the kingship was looked for as the fitting 
crown and copestone of the Samoan triumph ; 
and but a little after the coming of the chief 
justice, an ominous cry for Mataafa began to 
arise in the islands. It is difficult to see what 
that official could have done but what he did. 
He was loyal, as in duty bound, to the treaty 
and to Laupepa ; and when the orators of the 
important and unruly islet of Manono demanded 
to his face a change of kings, he had no choice 
but to refuse them, and (his reproof being un- 
heeded) to suspend the meeting. Whether by 
any neglect of his own or the mere force of cir- 
cumstance, he failed, however, to secure the 

280 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

sympathy, failed even to gain the confidence, of 
Mataafa. The latter is not without a sense of 
his own abilities or of the great service he has 
rendered to his native land. He felt himself 
neglected ; at the very moment when the cry 
for his elevation rang throughout the group, he 
thought himself made little of on Mulinuu ; and 
he began to weary of his part. In this humour, 
he was exposed to a temptation which I must 
try to explain as best I may be able to Euro- 

The bestowal of the great name, Malietoa, is 
in the power of the district of Malie, some seven 
miles to the westward of Apia. The most 
noisy and conspicuous supporters of that party 
are the inhabitants of Manono. Hence in the 
elaborate, allusive oratory of Samoa, Malie is 
always referred to by the name oiPule (authority) 
as having the power of the name, and Manono 
by that of Ainga (clan, sept, or household) as 
forming the immediate family of the chief. 
But these, though so important, are only small 
communities ; and perhaps the chief numerical 
force of the Malietoas inhabits the island of 
Savaii. Savaii has no royal name to bestow, 

Laupepa and Mataafa 281 

all the five being in the gift of different dis- 
tricts of Upolu; but she has the weight of 
numbers, and in these latter days has acquired 
a certain force by the preponderance in her 
councils of a single man, the orator Lauati. 
The reader will now understand the peculiar 
significance of a deputation which should em- 
brace Lauati and the orators of both Malie and 
Manono, how it would represent all that is 
most effective on the Malietoa side, and all that 
is most considerable in Samoan politics, except 
the opposite feudal party of the Tupua. And 
in the temptation brought to bear on Mataafa, 
even the Tupua was conjoined. Tamasese was 
dead. His followers had conceived a not un- 
natural aversion to all Germans, from which 
only the loyal Brandeis is excepted ; and a not 
unnatural admiration for their late successful 
adversary. Men of his own blood and clan, 
men whom he had fought in the field, whom he 
had driven from Matautu, who had smitten him 
back time and again from before the rustic bul- 
warks of Lotoanuu, they approached him hand 
in hand with their ancestral enemies and con- 
curred in the same prayer. The treaty (they 

282 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

argued) was not carried out. The right to 
elect their king had been granted them ; or if 
that were denied or suspended, then the right 
to elect "his successor." They were dissatis- 
fied with Laupepa, and claimed, "according to 
the laws and customs of Samoa," duly to ap- 
point another. The orators of Malie declared 
with irritation that their second appointment 
was alone valid and Mataafa the sole Malietoa ; 
the whole body of malcontents named him as 
their choice for king ; and they requested him 
in consequence to leave Apia and take up his 
dwelling in Malie, the name-place of Malietoa ; 
a step which may be described, to European 
ears, as placing before the country his candi- 
dacy for the crown. 

I do not know when the proposal was first 
made. Doubtless the disaffection grew slowly, 
every trifle adding to its force ; doubtless there 
lingered for long a willingness to give the new 
government a trial. The chief justice at least 
had been nearly five months in the country, and 
the president, Baron Senfft von Pilsach, rather 
more than a month, before the mine was sprung. 
On May 31, 1891, the house of Mataafa was 

Laupepa and Mataafa 283 

found empty, he and his chiefs had vanished 
from Apia, and what was worse, three prisoners, 
liberated from the gaol, had accompanied them 
in their secession ; two being political offenders, 
and the third (accused of murder) having been 
perhaps set free by accident. Although the 
step had been discussed in certain quarters, it 
took all men by surprise. The inhabitants at 
large expected instant war. The officials awak- 
ened from a dream to recognise the value of 
that which they had lost. Mataafa at Vaiala, 
where he was the pledge of peace, had perhaps 
not always been deemed worthy of particular 
attention ; Mataafa at Malie was seen, twelve 
hours too late, to be an altogether different 
quantity. With excess of zeal on the other 
side, the officials trooped to their boats and 
proceeded almost in a body to Malie, where 
they seem to have employed every artifice of 
flattery and every resource of eloquence upon 
the fugitive high chief. These courtesies, per- 
haps excessive in themselves, had the unpar- 
donable fault of being offered when too late. 
Mataafa showed himself facile on small issues, 
inflexible on the main ; he restored the prison- 

284 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

ers, he returned with the consuls to Apia on a 
flying visit ; he gave his word that peace should 
be preserved — a pledge in which perhaps no 
one believed at the moment, but which he has 
since nobly redeemed. On the rest, he was 
immovable ; he had cast the die, he had declared 
his candidacy, he had gone to Malie. Thither, 
after his visit to Apia, he returned again ; there 
he has practically since resided. 

Thus was created in the islands a situation, 
strange in the beginning, and which, as its inner 
significance is developed, becomes daily stranger 
to observe. On the one hand, Mataafa sits in 
Malie, assumes a regal state, receives deputa- 
tions, heads his letters " Government of Samoa," 
tacitly treats the king as a co-ordinate ; and yet 
declares himself, and in many ways conducts 
himself, as a law-abiding citizen. On the other, 
the white officials in Mulinuu stand contemplat- 
ing the phenomenon with eyes of growing stupe- 
faction ; now with symptoms of collapse, now 
with accesses of violence. For long, even those 
well versed in island manners and the island 
character daily expected war, and heard imagi- 
nary drums beat in the forest. But for now 

Laupepa and Mataafa 285 

close upon a year, and against every stress of 
persuasion and temptation, Mataafa has been 
the bulwark of our peace. Apia lay open to be 
seized, he had the power in his hand, his follow- 
ers cried to be led on, his enemies marshalled 
him the same way by impotent examples ; and 
he has never faltered. Early in the day, a 
white man was sent from the government of 
Mulinuu to examine and report upon his ac- 
tions ; I saw the spy on his return : " It was 
only our rebel that saved us," he said with a 
laugh. There is now no honest man in the 
islands but is well aware of it ; none but knows 
that, if we have enjoyed during the past eleven 
months the conveniences of peace, it is due to 
the forbearance of "our rebel." Nor does this 
part of his conduct stand alone. He calls his 
party at Malie the government, — "our govern- 
ment," — but he pays his taxes to the govern- 
ment at Mulinuu. He takes ground like a 
king ; he has steadily and blandly refused to 
obey all orders as to his own movements or 
behaviour ; but upon requisition, he sends 
offenders to be tried under the chief justice. 
We have here a problem of conduct, and 

286 Eight Years of Trouble hi Samoa 

what seems an image of inconsistency, very hard 
at the first sight to be solved by any European. 
Plainly Mataafa does not act at random. 
Plainly, in the depths of his Samoan mind, he 
regards his attitude as regular and constitu- 
tional. It may be unexpected, it may be 
inauspicious, it may be undesirable ; but he 
thinks it — and perhaps it is — in full accord- 
ance with those "laws and customs of Samoa" 
ignorantly invoked by the draughtsmen of the 
Berlin act. The point is worth an effort of 
comprehension; a man's life may yet depend 
upon it. Let us conceive, in the first place, 
that there are five separate kingships in Samoa, 
though not always five different kings ; and 
that though one man, by holding the five royal 
names, might become king in all parts of 
Samoa, there is perhaps no such matter as a 
kingship of all Samoa. He who holds one royal 
name would be, upon this view, as much a sov- 
ereign person as he who should chance to hold 
the other four ; he would have less territory and 
fewer subjects, but the like independence and 
an equal royalty. Now Mataafa, even if all 
debatable points were decided against him, is 

Laupepa and Mataafa 287 

still Tuiatua, and as such, on this hypothesis, a 
sovereign prince. In the second place, the 
draughtsmen of the act, waxing exceeding bold, 
employed the word " election," and implicitly 
justified all precedented steps towards the king- 
ship according with the " customs of Samoa." 
I am not asking what was intended by the gen- 
tlemen who sat and debated very benignly and, 
on the whole, wisely in Berlin ; I am asking 
what will be understood by a Samoan studying 
their literary work, the Berlin act ; I am asking 
what is the result of taking a word out of one 
state of society, and applying it to another, of 
which the writers know less than nothing, and 
no European knows much. Several interpreters 
and several days were employed last September 
in the fruitless attempt to convey to the mind 
of Laupepa the sense of the word " resignation." 
What can a Samoan gather from the words, 
election f election of a king ? election of a king 
according to the laws and customs of Samoa ? 
What are the electoral measures, what is the 
method of canvassing, likely to be employed by 
two, three, four, or five, more or less absolute 
princelings, eager to evince each other? And 

288 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

who is to distinguish such a process from 
the state of war? In such international — or, 
I should say, interparochial — differences, the 
nearest we can come towards understanding is 
to appreciate the cloud of ambiguity in which 
all parties grope. 

Treading the crude consistence, half on foot, 
Half flying. 

Now in one part of Mataafa's behaviour his 
purpose is beyond mistake. Towards the pro- 
visions of the Berlin act, his desire to be for- 
mally obedient is manifest. The act imposed 
the tax. He has paid his taxes, although he 
thus contributes to the ways and means of his 
immediate rival. The act decreed the supreme 
court, and he sends his partizans to be tried at 
Mulinuu, although he thus places them (as I 
shall have occasion to show) in a position far 
from wholly safe. From this literal conformity, 
in matters regulated, to the terms of the Berlin 
plenipotentiaries, we may plausibly infer, in 
regard to the rest, a no less exact observance of 
the famous and obscure " laws and customs of 

Laupepa and Mataafa 289 

But though it may be possible to obtain, in 
the study, to some such adumbration of an 
understanding, it were plainly unfair to expect 
it of officials in the hurry of events. Our two 
white officers have accordingly been no more 
perspicacious than was to be looked for, and I 
think they have sometimes been less wise. It 
was not wise in the president to proclaim 
Mataafa and his followers rebels and their 
estates confiscated. Such words are not re- 
spectable till they repose on force ; on the lips 
of an angry white man, standing alone on a 
small promontory, they were both dangerous 
and absurd ; they might have provoked ruin ; 
thanks to the character of Mataafa, they only 
raised a smile and damaged the authority of 
government. And again it is not wise in the 
government of Mulinuu to have twice attempted 
to precipitate hostilities, once in Savaii, once 
here in the Tuamasanga. The fate of the Savaii 
attempt I never heard ; it seems to have been 
still born. The other passed under my eyes. 
A war-party was armed in Apia, and despatched 
across the island against Mataafa villages, where 
it was to seize the women and children. It was 

290 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

absent for some days, engaged in feasting with 
those whom it went out to fight ; and returned 
at last, innocuous and replete. In this for- 
tunate though undignified ending we may read 
the fact that the natives on Laupepa's side are 
sometimes more wise than their advisers. In- 
deed, for our last twelve months of miraculous 
peace under what seem to be two rival kings, 
the credit is due first of all to Mataafa, and 
second to the half-heartedness, or the forbear- 
ance, or both, of the natives in the other camp. 
The voice of the two whites has ever been for 
war. They have published at least one incen- 
diary proclamation ; they have armed and sent 
into the field at least one Samoan war-party ; 
they have continually besieged captains of war- 
ships to attack Malie, and the captains of the 
war-ships have religiously refused. Thus in the 
last twelve months, our European rulers have 
drawn a picture of themselves, as bearded like 
the pard, full of strange oaths, and gesticulat- 
ing like semaphores ; while over against them 
Mataafa reposes smilingly obstinate, and their 
own retainers surround them, frowningly inert. 
Into the question of motive I refuse to enter; 

Laupepa and Mataafa 291 

but if we come to war in these islands, and with 
no fresh occasion, it will be a manufactured 
war, and one that has been manufactured, 
against the grain of opinion, by two foreigners. 
For the last and worst of the mistakes on the 
Laupepa side, it would be unfair to blame any 
but the king himself. Capable both of virtuous 
resolutions and of fits of apathetic obstinacy, 
his majesty is usually the whip-top of competi- 
tive advisers ; and his conduct is so unstable 
as to wear at times an appearance of treachery 
which would surprise himself if he could see it. 
Take, for example, the experience of Lieutenant 
Ulfsparre, late chief of police, and (so to speak) 
commander of the forces. His men were 
under orders for a certain hour; he found 
himself almost alone at the place of muster, and 
learned the king had sent the soldiery on er- 
rands. He sought an audience, explained that 
he was here to implant discipline, that (with 
this purpose in view) his men could only receive 
orders through himself, and if that condition 
were not agreed to and faithfully observed, he 
must send in his papers. The king was ns 
usual easily persuaded, the interview passed 

292 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

and ended to the satisfaction of all parties en- 
gaged — and the bargain was kept for one day. 
On the day after, the troops were again dis- 
persed as post-runners, and their commander 
resigned. With such a sovereign, I repeat, it 
would be unfair to blame any individual minis- 
ter for any specific fault. And yet the policy 
of our two whites against Mataafa has appeared 
uniformly so excessive and implacable, that the 
blame of the last scandal is laid generally at 
their doors. It is yet fresh. Lauati, towards 
the end of last year, became deeply concerned 
about the situation ; and by great personal ex- 
ertions and the charms of oratory brought 
Savaii and Manono into agreement upon certain 
terms of compromise : Laupepa still to be king, 
Mataafa to accept a high executive office com- 
parable to that of our own prime minister, and 
the two governments to coalesce. Intractable 
Manono was a party. Malie was said to view 
the proposal with resignation, if not relief. 
Peace was thought secure. The night before 
the king was to receive Lauati, I met one of 
his company, — the family chief, Iina, — and we 
shook hands over the unexpected issue of our 

Laupepa and Mataafa 293 

troubles. What no one dreamed was that 
Laupepa would refuse. And he did. He re- 
fused undisputed royalty for himself and peace 
for these unhappy islands ; and the two whites 
on Mulinuu rightly or wrongly got the blame 
of it. 

But their policy has another and a more awk- 
ward side. About the time of the secession to 
Malie, many ugly things were said ; I will not 
repeat that which I hope and believe the speak- 
ers did not wholly mean ; let it suffice that, if 
rumour carried to Mataafa the language I have 
heard used in my own house and before my own 
native servants, he would be highly justified in 
keeping clear of Apia and the whites. One 
gentleman whose opinion I respect, and am so 
bold as to hope I may in some points modify, 
will understand the allusion and appreciate my 
reserve. About the same time there occurred 
an incident, upon which I must be more partic- 
ular. A was a gentleman who had long been 
an intimate of Mataafa's, and had recently (upon 
account, indeed, of the secession to Malie) more 
or less wholly broken off relations. To him 
came one whom I shall call B with a dastardly 

294 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

proposition. It may have been B's own, in 
which case he were the more unpardonable ; but 
from the closeness of his intercourse with the 
chief justice, as well as from the terms used in 
the interview, men judged otherwise. It was 
proposed that A should simulate a renewal of 
the friendship, decoy Mataafa to a suitable 
place, and have him there arrested. What should 
follow in those days of violent speech was at 
the least disputable ; and the proposal was of 
course refused. " You do not understand," was 
the base rejoinder. " You will have no discredit. 
The Germans are to take the blame of the 
arrest." Of course, upon the testimony of a 
gentleman so depraved, it were unfair to hang a 
dog ; and both the Germans and the chief jus- 
tice must be held innocent. But the chief 
justice has shown that he can himself be led, by 
his animosity against Mataafa, into questionable 
acts. Certain natives of Malie were accused of 
stealing pigs ; the chief justice summoned them 
through Mataafa ; several were sent, and along 
with them a written promise that, if others were 
required, these also should be forthcoming upon 
requisition. Such as came were duly tried and 

Laupepa and Mataafa 295 

acquitted ; and Mataafa's offer was communi- 
cated to the chief justice, who made a formal 
answer, and the same day (in pursuance of his 
constant design to have Malie attacked by war- 
ships) reported to one of the consuls that his 
warrant would not run in the country and that 
certain of the accused had been withheld. At 
least, this is not fair dealing ; and the next in- 
stance I have to give is possibly worse. For 
one blunder the chief justice is only so far re- 
sponsible, in that he was not present where it 
seems he should have been, when it was made. 
He had nothing to do with the silly proscription 
of the Mataafas ; he has always disliked the 
measure ; and it occurred to him at last that he 
might get rid of this dangerous absurdity and 
at the same time reap a farther advantage. Let 
Mataafa leave Malie for any other district in 
Samoa ; it should be construed as an act of sub- 
mission and the confiscation and proscription 
instantly recalled. This was certainly well de- 
vised ; the government escaped from their own 
false position, and by the same stroke lowered 
the prestige of their adversaries. But unhappily 
the chief justice did not put all his eggs in one 

296 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

basket. Concurrently with these negotiations 
he began again to move the captain of one of 
the war-ships to shell the rebel village ; the cap- 
tain, conceiving the extremity wholly unjusti- 
fied, not only refused these instances, but more 
or less publicly complained of their being made ; 
the matter came to the knowledge of the white 
resident who was at that time playing the part 
of intermediary with Malie ; and he, in natural 
anger and disgust, withdrew from the negotia- 
tion. These duplicities, always deplorable when 
discovered, are never more fatal than with men 
imperfectly civilised. Almost incapable of truth 
themselves, they cherish a particular scorn of 
the same fault in whites. And Mataafa is 
besides an exceptional native. I would scarce 
dare say of any Samoan that he is truthful, 
though I seem to have encountered the phe- 
nomenon ; but I must say of Mataafa that he 
seems distinctly and consistently averse to lying. 
For the affair of the Manono prisoners, the 
chief justice is only again in so far answerable 
as he was at the moment absent from the seat 
of his duties; and the blame falls on Baron 
Senfft von Pilsach, President of the Municipal 

Laupepa and Mataafa 297 

Council. There were in Manono certain dis- 
sidents, loyal to Laupepa. Being Manono peo- 
ple, I daresay they were very annoying to their 
neighbours ; the majority, as they belonged to 
the same island, were the more impatient; and 
one fine day fell upon and destroyed the houses 
and harvests of the dissidents " according to the 
laws and customs of Samoa." The president 
went down to the unruly island in a war-ship 
and was landed alone upon the beach. To one 
so much a stranger to the mansuetude of Poly- 
nesians, this must have seemed an act of des- 
peration ; and the baron's gallantry met with a 
deserved success. The six ringleaders, acting 
in Mataafa's interest, had been guilty of a de- 
lict ; with Mataafa's approval, they delivered 
themselves over to be tried. On Friday, Sep- 
tember 4, 1 89 1, they were convicted before a 
native magistrate and sentenced to six months' 
imprisonment ; or, I should rather say, deten- 
tion ; for it was expressly directed that they 
were to be used as gentlemen and not as prison- 
ers, that the door was to stand open, and that 
all, their wishes should be gratified. This ex- 
traordinary sentence fell upon the accused like 

298 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

a thunderbolt. There is no need to suppose 
perfidy, where a careless interpreter suffices to 
explain all ; but the six chiefs claim to have 
understood their coming to Apia as an act of 
submission merely formal, that they came in 
fact under an implied indemnity, and that the 
president stood pledged to see them scatheless. 
Already, on their way from the courthouse, they 
were tumultuously surrounded by friends and 
clansmen, who pressed and cried upon them to 
escape ; Lieutenant Ulfsparre must order his 
men to load ; and with that the momentary 
effervescence died away. Next day, Saturday, 
5th, the chief justice took his departure from 
the islands — a step never yet explained and (in 
view of the doings of the day before and the 
remonstrances of other officials) hard to justify. 
The president, an amiable and brave young man 
of singular inexperience, was thus left to face 
the growing difficulty by himself. The clans- 
men of the prisoners, to the number of near 
upon a hundred, lay in Vaiusu, a village half 
way between Apia and Malie ; there they talked 
big, thence sent menacing messages ; the gaol 
should be broken in the night, they said, and 

Laupepa and Mataafa 299 

the six martyrs rescued. Allowance is to be 
made for the character of the people of Manono, 
turbulent fellows, boastful of tongue, but of late 
days not thought to be answerably bold in per- 
son. Yet the moment was anxious. The gov- 
ernment of Mulinuu had gained an important 
moral victory by the surrender and condemna- 
tion of the chiefs ; and it was needful the vic- 
tory should be maintained. The guard upon 
the gaol was accordingly strengthened ; a war- 
party was sent to watch the Vaiusu road under 
Asi ; and the chiefs of the Vaimaunga were noti- 
fied to arm and assemble their men. It must 
be supposed the president was doubtful of the 
loyalty of these assistants. He turned at least 
to the war-ships, where it seems he was rebuffed ; 
thence he fled into the arms of the wrecker 
gang, where he was unhappily more successful. 
The government of Washington had presented 
to the Samoan king the wrecks of the Trenton 
and the Vandalia ; an American syndicate had 
been formed to break them up ; an experienced 
gang was in consequence settled in Apia ; and 
the report of submarine explosions had long 
grown familiar in the ears of residents. From 

300 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

these artificers the president obtained a supply 
of dynamite, the needful mechanism, and the 
loan of a mechanic ; the gaol was mined, and 
the Manono people in Vaiusu were advertised 
of the fact in a letter signed by Laupepa. 
Partly by the indiscretion of the mechanic, who 
had sought to embolden himself (like Lady 
Macbeth) with liquor for his somewhat dreadful 
task, the story leaked immediately out and raised 
a very general, or I might say almost universal, 
reprobation. Some blamed the proposed deed 
because it was barbarous and a foul example to 
set before a race half barbarous itself ; others 
because it was illegal ; others again because, in 
the face of so weak an enemy, it appeared piti- 
fully pusillanimous ; almost all because it tended 
to precipitate and embitter war. In the midst 
of the turmoil he had raised, and under the 
immediate pressure of certain indignant white 
residents, the baron fell back upon a new expedi- 
ent, certainly less barbarous, perhaps no more 
legal ; and on Monday afternoon, September 
7th, packed his six prisoners on board the cut- 
ter Lancashire Lass } and deported them to the 
neighbouring low-island group of the Tokelaus. 

Laupepa and Mataafa 301 

We watched her put to sea with mingled feel- 
ings. Anything were better than dynamite, but 
this was not good. The men had been sum- 
moned in the name of law ; they had surren- 
dered ; the law had uttered its voice ; they were 
under one sentence duly delivered ; and now 
the president, by no right with which we were 
acquainted, had exchanged it for another. It 
was perhaps no less fortunate, though it was 
more pardonable in a stranger, that he had 
increased the punishment to that which, in the 
eyes of Samoans, ranks next to death, — exile 
from their native land and friends. And the 
Lancashire Lass appeared to carry away with her 
into the uttermost parts of the sea the honour 
of the administration and the prestige of the 
supreme court. 

The policy of the government towards 
Mataafa has thus been of a piece throughout ; 
always would-be violent, it has been almost 
always defaced with some appearance of perfidy 
or unfairness. The policy of Mataafa (though 
extremely bewildering to any white) appears 
everywhere consistent with itself, and the man's 
bearing has always been calm. But to repre- 

302 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

sent the fulness of the contrast, it is necessary 
that I should give some description of the two 
capitals, or the two camps, and the ways and 
means of the regular and irregular government. 
Mulinuu. Mulinuu, the reader may remem- 
ber, is a narrow finger of land planted in cocoa- 
palms, which runs forth into the lagoon perhaps 
three quarters of a mile. To the east is the bay 
of Apia. To the west, there is, first of all, a 
mangrove swamp, the mangroves excellently 
green, the mud ink-black, and its face crawled 
upon by countless insects and black and scarlet 
crabs. Beyond the swamp is a wide and shallow 
bay of the lagoon, bounded to the west by 
Faleula Point. Faleula is the next village to 
Malie ; so that from the top of some tall palm in 
Malie, it should be possible to descry against the 
eastern heavens the palms of Mulinuu. The 
trade wind sweeps over the low peninsula and 
cleanses it from the contagion of the swamp. 
Samoans have a quaint phrase in their lan- 
guage ; when out of health, they seek exposed 
places on the shore "to eat the wind," say they ; 
and there can be few better places for such a 
diet than the point of Mulinuu. 

Laupepa and Mataafa 303 

Two European houses stand conspicuous on 
the harbour side ; in Europe they would seem 
poor enough, but they are fine houses for 
Samoa. One is new ; it was built the other day 
under the apologetic title of a Government 
House, to be the residence of Baron Senfft. 
The other is historical; it was built by Brandeis 
on a mortgage, and is now occupied by the 
chief justice on conditions never understood, 
the rumour going uncontradicted that he sits 
rent free. I do not say it is true, I say it goes 
uncontradicted ; and there is one peculiarity of 
our officials in a nutshell, — their remarkable 
indifference to their own character. From the 
one house to the other extends a scattering vil- 
lage for the Faipule or native parliament men. 
In the days of Tamasese this was a brave place, 
both his own house and those of the Faipule good, 
and the whole excellently ordered and approached 
by a sanded way. It is now like a neglected 
bushtown, and speaks of apathy in all concerned. 
But the chief scandal of Mulinuu is elsewhere. 
The house of the president stands just to seaward 
of the isthmus, where the watch is set nightly, 
and armed men guard the uneasy slumbers of 

304 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

the government. On the landward side there 
stands a monument to the poor German lads who 
fell at Fangalii, just beyond which the passer-by 
may chance to observe a little house standing 
backward from the road. It is such a house as 
a commoner might use in a bush village ; none 
could dream that it gave shelter even to a family 
chief ; yet this is the palace of Malietoa-Natoai- 
tele-Tamasoalii Laupepa, king of Samoa. As 
you sit in his company under this humble shel- 
ter, you shall see, between the posts, the new 
house of the president. His Majesty himself 
beholds it daily, and the tenor of his thoughts 
may be divined. The fine house of a Samoan 
chief is his appropriate attribute ; yet, after 
seventeen months, the government (well housed 
themselves) have not yet found — have not yet 
sought — a roof -tree for their sovereign. And 
the lodging is typical. I take up the president's 
financial statement of September 8, 1891. I 
find the king's allowance to figure at seventy- 
five dollars a month ; and I find that he is 
farther (though somewhat obscurely) debited 
with the salaries of either two or three clerks. 
Take the outside figure, and the sum expended 

Laupepa and Mataafa 305 

on or for His Majesty amounts to ninety-five 
dollars in the month. Lieutenant Ulfsparre and 
Dr. Hagberg (the chief justice's Swedish 
friends) drew in the same period one hundred 
and forty and one hundred dollars respectively 
on account of salary alone. And it should be 
observed that Dr. Hagberg was employed, or at 
least paid, from government funds, in the face 
of His Majesty's express and reiterated protest. 
In another column of the statement, one hun- 
dred and seventy-five dollars and seventy-five 
cents are debited for the chief justice's travel- 
ling expenses. I am of the opinion that if His 
Majesty desired (or dared) to take an outing, he 
would be asked to bear the charge from his 
allowance. But although I think the chief jus- 
tice had done more nobly to pay for himself, I 
am far from denying that his excursions were 
well meant ; he should indeed be praised for 
having made them ; and I leave the charge out 
of consideration in the following statement. 

On the One Hand. 
Salary of Chief Justice Cedarkrantz . . . $500 
Salary of President Baron Senfft von Pilsach 

(about) 4'S 

306 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

Salary of Lieutenant Ulfsparre, Chief of Police . $140 
Salary of Dr. Hagberg, Private Secretary to the 

Chief Justice 100 

Total monthly salary to four whites, one of them 

paid against His Majesty's protest . . . $1155 

On the Other Hand. 

Total monthly payments to and for His Majesty the 
King, including allowance and hire of three 
clerks, one of these placed under the rubric of 
extraordinary expenses $95 

This looks strange enough and mean enough 
already. But we have ground of comparison 
in the practice of Brandeis. 

Brandeis, white prime minister .... $200 

Tamasese (about) 160 

White Chief of Police 100 

Under Brandeis, in other words, the king 
received the second highest allowance on the 
sheet ; and it was a good second, and the third 
was a bad third. And it must be born in mind 
that Tamasese himself was pointed and laughed 
at among natives. Judge, then, what is mut- 
tered of Laupepa, housed in his shanty before 
the president's doors like Lazarus before the 

Laupepa and Mataafa 307 

doors of Dives ; receiving not so much of his 
own taxes as the private secretary of the law 
officer ; and (in actual salary) little more than 
half as much as his own chief of police. It is 
known besides that he has protested in vain 
against the charge for Dr. Hagberg ; it is 
known that he has himself applied for an 
advance and been refused. Money is certainly 
a grave subject on Mulinuu ; but respect costs 
nothing, and thrifty officials might have judged 
it wise to make up in extra politeness for what 
they curtailed of pomp or comfort. One 
instance may suffice. Laupepa appeared last 
summer on a public occasion ; the president was 
there — and not even the president rose to 
greet the entrance of the sovereign. Since 
about the same period, besides, the monarch 
must be described as in a state of sequestra- 
tion. A white man, an Irishman, the true type 
of all that is most gallant, humorous, and reck- 
less in his country, chose to visit His Majesty 
and give him some excellent advice (to make up 
his difference with Mataafa) couched unhappily 
in vivid and figurative language. The adviser 
now sleeps in the Pacific, but the evil that he 

308 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

chanced to do lives after him. His Majesty 
was greatly (and I must say justly) offended by 
the freedom of the expressions used ; he ap- 
pealed to his white advisers ; and these, whether 
from want of thought or by design, issued an 
ignominious proclamation. Intending visitors 
to the palace must appear before their consuls 
and justify their business. The majesty of 
buried Samoa was henceforth only to be viewed 
(like a private collection) under special permit ; 
and was thus at once cut off from the company 
and opinions of the self-respecting. To retain 
any dignity in such an abject state would 
require a man of very different virtues from 
those claimed by the not unvirtuous Laupepa. 
He is not designed to ride the whirlwind or 
direct the storm, rather to be the ornament of 
private life. He is kind, gentle, patient as Job, 
conspicuously well intentioned, of charming 
manners ; and when he pleases, he has one 
accomplishment in which he now begins to be 
alone — I mean that he can pronounce correctly 
his own beautiful language. 

The government of Brandeis accomplished a 
good deal and was continually and heroically 

Laupepa and Mataafa 309 

attempting more. The government of our two 
whites has confined itself almost wholly to pay- 
ing and receiving salaries. They have built, 
indeed, a house for the president ; they are be- 
lieved (if that be a merit) to have bought the 
local newspaper with government funds ; and 
their rule has been enlivened by a number of 
scandals, into which I feel with relief it is 
unnecessary I should enter. Even if the three 
powers do not remove these gentlemen, their 
absurd and disastrous government must perish 
by itself of inanition. Native taxes (except 
perhaps from Mataafa, true to his own private 
policy) have long been beyond hope. And only 
the other day (May 6th, 1892), on the expressed 
ground that there was no guarantee as to how 
the funds would be expended, and that the 
president consistently refused to allow the veri- 
fication of his cash balances, the municipal 
council has negatived the proposal to call up 
farther taxes from the whites. All is well that 
ends even ill, so that it end ; and we believe 
that with the last dollar we shall see the last of 
the last functionary. Now when it is so nearly 
over, we can afford to smile at this extraordi* 

310 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

nary passage, though we must still sigh over 
the occasion lost. 

Malic. The way to Malie lies round the 
shores of Faleula bay and through a succession 
of pleasant groves and villages. The road, one 
of the works of Brandeis, is now cut up by 
pig fences. Eight times you must leap a bar- 
rier of cocoa posts ; the take-off and the land- 
ing both in a patch of mire planted with big 
stones, and the stones sometimes reddened with 
the blood of horses that have gone before. To 
make these obstacles more annoying, you have 
sometimes to wait while a black boar clambers 
sedately over the so-called pig fence. Nothing 
can more thoroughly depict the worst side of 
the Samoan character than these useless bar- 
riers which deface their only road. It was one 
of the first orders issued by the government of 
Mulinuu after the coming of the chief justice, to 
have the passage cleared. It is the disgrace of 
Mataafa that the thing is not yet done. 

The village of Malie is a scene of prosperity 
and peace. In a very good account of a visit 
there, published in the Australasian, the writer 

Laupepa and Mataafa 3 1 1 

describes it to be fortified ; she must have been 
deceived by the appearance of some pig walls 
on the shore. There is no fortification, no 
parade of war. I understand that from one to 
five hundred fighting men are always within 
reach ; but I have never seen more than five 
together under arms, and these were the king's 
guard of honour. A Sabbath quiet broods over 
the well-weeded green, the picketted horses, 
the troops of pigs, the round or oval native 
dwellings. Of these there are a surprising 
number, very fine of their sort : yet more are in 
the building ; and in the midst a tall house of 
assembly, by far the greatest Samoan structure 
now in these islands, stands about half finished 
and already makes a figure in the landscape. 
No bustle is to be observed, but the work ac- 
complished testifies to a still activity. 

The centre-piece of all is the high chief him- 
self, Malietoa-Tuiatua-Tuiaana Mataafa, king — 
or not king — or king-claimant — of Samoa. 
All goes to him, all comes from him. Native 
deputations bring him gifts and are feasted in 
return. White travellers, to their indescribable 
irritation, are (on his approach) waved from his 

312 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

path by his armed guards. He summons his 
dancers by the note of a bugle. He sits nightly 
at home before a semi-circle of talking-men from 
many quarters of the islands, delivering and 
hearing those ornate and elegant orations in 
which the Samoan heart delights. About him- 
self and all his surroundings there breathes a 
striking sense of order, tranquillity, and native 
plenty. He is of a tall and powerful person, 
sixty years of age, white-haired and with a white 
moustache ; his eyes bright and quiet ; his jaw 
perceptibly underhung, which gives him some- 
thing of the expression of a benevolent mastiff ; 
his manners dignified and a thought insinuating, 
with an air of a Catholic prelate. He was never 
married, and a natural daughter attends upon 
his guests. Long since he made a vow of 
chastity, — " to live as our Lord lived on this 
earth," — and Polynesians report with bated 
breath that he has kept it. On all such points, 
true to his Catholic training, he is inclined to 
be even rigid. Lauati, the pivot of Savaii, has 
recently repudiated his wife and taken a fairer ; 
and when I was last in Malie, Mataafa (with a 
strange superiority to his own interests) had but 

Laupepa and Mataafa 3 1 3 

just despatched a reprimand. In his immediate 
circle, in spite of the smoothness of his ways, 
he is said to be more respected than beloved ; 
and his influence is the child rather of authority 
than popularity. No Samoan grandee now liv- 
ing need have attempted that which he has 
accomplished during the last twelve months 
with unimpaired prestige, not only to withhold 
his followers from war, but to send them to be 
judged in the camp of their enemies on Mulinuu. 
And it is a matter of debate whether such a 
triumph of authority were ever possible before. 
Speaking for myself, I have visited and dwelt in 
almost every seat of the Polynesian race, and 
have met but one man who gave me a stronger 
impression of character and parts. 

About the situation, Mataafa expresses him- 
self with unshaken peace. To the chief justice 
he refers with some bitterness ; to Laupepa, with 
a smile, as " my poor brother." For himself, 
he stands upon the treaty, and expects sooner or 
later an election in which he shall be raised to 
the chief power. In the meanwhile, or for 
an alternative, he would willingly embrace a 
compromise with Laupepa; to which he would 

314 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

probably add one condition, that the joint gov- 
ernment should remain seated at Malie, a sensi- 
ble but not inconvenient distance from white 
intrigues and white officials. One circumstance 
in my last interview particularly pleased me. 
The king's chief scribe, Esela, is an old employe" 
under Tamasese, and the talk ran some while 
upon the character of Brandeis. Loyalty in 
this world is after all not thrown away ; Bran- 
deis was guilty, in Samoan eyes, of many irritat- 
ing errors, but he stood true to Tamasese ; in 
the course of time, a sense of this virtue and of 
his general uprightness has obliterated the 
memory of his mistakes ; and it would have 
done his heart good if he could have heard his 
old scribe and his old adversary join in praising 
him. "Yes," concluded Mataafa, " I wish we had 
Planteisa back again." A quelque chose malheur 
est bon. So strong is the impression produced 
by the defects of Cederkrantz and Baron Senfft, 
that I believe Mataafa far from singular in this 
opinion, and that the return of the upright Bran- 
deis might be even welcome to many. 

I must add a last touch to the picture of 
Malie and the pretender's life. About four in 

Laupepa and Mataafa 3 1 5 

the morning, the visitor in his house will be 
awakened by the note of a pipe, blown without, 
very softly and to a soothing melody. This is 
Mataafa' s private luxury to lead on pleasant 
dreams. We have a bird here in Samoa that 
about the same hour of darkness sings in the 
bush. The father of Mataafa, while he lived, 
was a great friend and protector to all living 
creatures and passed under the by-name of the 
King of Birds. It may be it was among the 
woodland clients of the sire that the son 
acquired his fancy for this morning music. 

I have now sought to render without exten- 
uation the impressions received : of dignity, 
plenty, and peace at Malie, of bankruptcy and 
distraction at Mulinuu. And I wish I might 
here bring to an end ungrateful labours. But I 
am sensible that there remain two points on 
which it would be improper to be silent. I 
should be blamed if I did not indicate a practical 
conclusion ; and I should blame myself if I did 
not do a little justice to that tried company of 
the Land Commissioners. 

The Land Commission has been in many 

316 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

senses unfortunate. The original German 
member, a gentleman of the name of Eggert, 
fell early into precarious health ; his work was 
from the first interrupted, he was at last (to 
the regret of all that knew him) invalided 
home ; and his successor has but just arrived. 
In like manner, the first American commis- 
sioner, Henry C. Ide, a man of character and 
intelligence, was recalled (I believe by private 
affairs) when he was but just settling into the 
spirit of the work ; and though his place was 
promptly filled by Ex-Governor Ormsbee, a 
worthy successor, distinguished by strong and 
vivacious common sense, the break was again 
sensible. The English commissioner, my friend 
Bazett Michael Haggard, is thus the only one 
who has continued at his post since the begin- 
ning. And yet in spite of these unusual 
changes, the Commission has a record perhaps 
unrivalled among international commissions. 
It has been unanimous practically from the first 
until the last ; and out of some four hundred 
cases disposed of, there is but one on which the 
members were divided. It was the more un- 
fortunate they should have early fallen in a 

Laupepa and Mataafa 3 1 7 

difficulty with the chief justice. The original 
ground of this is supposed to be a difference of 
opinion as to the import of the Berlin act, on 
which, as a layman, it would be unbecoming if I 
were to offer an opinion. But it must always 
seem as if the chief justice had suffered himself 
to be irritated beyond the bounds of discretion. 
It must always seem as if his original attempt 
to deprive the commissioners of the services of 
a secretary and the use of a safe were even 
senseless ; and his step in printing and posting 
a proclamation denying their jurisdiction were 
equally impolitic and undignified. The dispute 
had a secondary result worse than itself. The 
gentleman appointed to be Natives' Advocate 
shared the chief justice's opinion, was his close 
intimate, advised with him almost daily, and 
drifted at last into an attitude of opposition to 
his colleagues. He suffered himself besides 
(being a layman in law) to embrace the interest 
of his clients with something of the warmth of 
a partizan. Disagreeable scenes occurred in 
court ; the advocate was more than once re- 
proved, he was warned that his consultations 
with the judge of appeal tended to damage his 

318 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

own character and to lower the credit of the 
appellate court. Having lost some cases on 
which he set importance, it should seem that 
he spoke unwisely among natives. A sud 
den cry of colour prejudice went up; and Sa- 
moans were heard to assure each other that 
it was useless to appear before the Land Com- 
mission, which was sworn to support the whites. 
This deplorable state of affairs was brought 
to an end by the departure from Samoa of the 
Natives' Advocate. He was succeeded pro 
tempore by a young New Zealander, E. W. 
Gurr, not much more versed in law than him- 
self, and very much less so in Samoan. 
Whether by more skill or better fortune, Gurr 
has been able in the course of a few weeks to 
recover for the natives several important tracts 
of land ; and the prejudice against the Commis- 
sion seems to be abating as fast as it arose. I 
should not omit to say that, in the eagerness ot 
the original advocate, there was much that was 
amiable ; nor must I fail to point out how much 
there was of blindness. Fired by the ardour of 
pursuit, he seems to have regarded his immedi- 
ate clients as the only natives extant and the 

Laupepa and Mataafa 3 1 9 

epitome and emblem of the Samoan race. 
Thus, in the case that was the most exclaimed 
against as "an mjustice to natives," his client, 
Puaauli, was certainly nonsuited. But in that 
intricate affair, who lost the money ? The Ger- 
man firm. And who got the land ? Other 
natives. To twist such a decision into evidence, 
either of a prejudice against Samoans or a par- 
tiality to whites, is to keep one eye shut and 
have the other bandaged. 

And lastly, one word as to the future. Lau- 
pepa and Mataafa stand over against each other, 
rivals with no third competitor. They may be 
said to hold the great name of Malietoa in com- 
mission ; each has borne the style, each exer- 
cised the authority, of a Samoan king ; one is 
secure of the small but compact and fervent 
following of the Catholics, the other has the 
sympathies of a large part of the Protestant 
majority, and upon any sign of Catholic aggres- 
sion would have more. With men so nearly 
balanced, it may be asked whether a prolonged 
successful exercise of power be possible for 
either. In the case of the feeble Laupepa, it is 
certainly not ; we have the proof before us. 

320 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

Nor do I think we should judge, from what we 
see to-day, that it would be possible, or would 
continue to be possible, even for the kingly 
Mataafa. It is always the easier game to be in 
opposition. The tale of David and Saul would 
infallibly be reenacted; once more we shall have 
two kings in the land, — the latent and the 
patent ; and the house of the first will become 
once more the resort of "every one that is in 
distress, and every one that is in debt, and every 
one that is discontented." Against such odds 
it is my fear that Mataafa might contend in 
vain ; it is beyond the bounds of my imagination 
that Laupepa should contend at all. Foreign 
ships and bayonets is the cure proposed in 
Mulinuu. And certainly, if people at home 
desire that money should be thrown away and 
blood shed in Samoa, an effect of a kind, and 
for the time, may be produced. Its nature 
and prospective durability I will ask readers of 
this volume to forecast for themselves. There 
is one way to peace and unity : that Laupepa 
and Mataafa should be again conjoined on the 
best terms procurable. There may be other 
ways, although I cannot see them ; but not even 

Laupepa and Mataafa 321 

malevolence, not even stupidity, can deny that 
this is one. It seems, indeed, so obvious, and 
sure, and easy, that men look about with amaze- 
ment and suspicion, seeking some hidden mo- 
tive why it should not be adopted. 

To Laupepa's opposition, as shown in the 
case of the Lauati scheme, no dweller in Samoa 
will give weight, for they know him to be as 
putty in the hands of his advisers. It m^y be 
right, it may be wrong, but we are many of us 
driven to the conclusion that the stumbling- 
block is Fangalii, and that the memorial of that 
affair shadows appropriately the house of a king 
who reigns in right of it. If this be all, it should 
not trouble us long. Germany has shown she 
can be generous ; it now remains for her only 
to forget a natural but certainly ill-grounded 
prejudice, and allow to him, who was sole king 
before the plenipotentiaries assembled, and who 
would be sole king to-morrow if the Berlin act 
could be rescinded, a fitting share of rule. The 
future of Samoa should lie thus in the hands of 
a single man, on whom the eyes of Europe are 
already fixed. Great concerns press on his 
attention ; the Samoan group, in his view, is 

322 Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa 

but as a grain of dust ; and the country where 
he reigns has bled on too many august scenes of 
victory to remember forever a blundering skir- 
mish in the plantation of Vailele. It is to him, 
— to the sovereign of the wise Stuebel and the 
loyal Brandeis, — that I make my appeal. 

May 25, 1892. 



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